Is it safe to handle a skunk with bare hands?
No matter whether you find a baby skunk, or a big skunk, it is never
wise to attempt to handle it with bare hands. Skunks can carry a
number of diseases including rabies. In fact, they are one of the
most common carriers of the deadly disease. Skunks also have sharp
teeth and claws used to fend off threats, and grown skunks have a
rather unpleasant natural defense- the ability to “spray” a horrid
stench on you that will not wash off. Often if you see baby skunks
playing alone, they are not necessarily abandoned. They are more
than likely playing under the watchful eye of their mother who is
lurking just out of sight.
She will not take kindly to you grabbing her babies. If you find a
skunk and feel as though it needs attention, call a local animal
rehab center, animal control, or a professional animal removal
service immediately. If you are not able to contact professional
help, and you have to move the skunk, there are precautions you
should take. If you have the opportunity, you can set out a live
trap and wait for the skunk to wander in. If this is not an option,
using a pole net (large net on the end of a pole), or a pole snare
(an adjustable cable loop on the end of a pole) is another good
As a last resort, you can throw a large cloth like a blanket or
sheet over the skunk, and then scoop it up in a bundle. It is
important that you have a cage, box, or other carrier ready to put
the skunk in, no matter how you catch it. It is also a good idea to
wear protective clothing and goggles to protect your hands, arms,
and eyes. Once you have the skunk in captivity, be sure to contact
someone who can help you relocate it safely.
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