Skunk, Muskrat, and Miscellaneous Wildlife Control in Georgia & Alabama
Rid-A-Critter is the largest full-service, regional wildlife management company in our region. We can help with almost any animal control problem. Some animals, however, don’t make nuisances of themselves often enough to earn their own page on our site, so we’ve set aside this page for those “occasional” nuisances who haven’t made the big leagues yet.
Skunks (sometimes called polecats) are among the most misunderstood animals in the South. This misunderstanding begins with their taxonomic order. Although often mistakenly thought to be rodents, they aren’t rodents at all.
Skunks actually belong to the order Carnivora, although they are omnivores who also eat leaves, grasses, berries, and other plant products in addition to insects and small animals. Although they sometimes eat field crops, in balance skunks probably are mainly beneficial to agriculture because the insects and rodents they eat cause more crop damage than the skunks do.
Contrary to popular belief, skunks aren’t “mean” animals. As wild animals go, they’re actually relatively passive and rarely attack unless they’re afraid for their lives. When that happens, however, watch out. Skunks are capable of spraying a noxious, foul-smelling, irritating liquid with great accuracy at whomever or whatever startled them. The liquid is potent enough that even bears are repelled by it.
But because a skunk’s scent glands only hold about 15 cc of the liquid and it can take more than a week to refill them, they spray only as a last resort. They also provide plenty of warning before they spray, which may include snarling, baring their teeth, stamping their feet, raising their tail, or any combination of the above.
Muskrats are small, semi-aquatic mammals found throughout Georgia and most of North America. Muskrats usually live along the banks of rivers, ponds, and streams, where they build lodges of twigs, weeds, cattails, and mud. They are named for the scent glands located under their tails, from which they emit a musk-like substance that’s used mainly to mark their territory.
Muskrats weigh two to four pounds, on average, and have rich, brown fur. Their front feet have sharp claws that they use for grasping plants and prey, and their hind feet are broad and webbed for swimming. They also have a unique tail: It’s long and thin like a rat’s tail, but it’s shaped like a knife standing on edge (that is, the tail is taller than it is wide).
Muskrats trapping and muskrat control become necessary when muskrats damage earth dams and sea walls by their burrowing and lodge construction. They also can cause flooding when they clog conduits, culverts, and storm drains.
Muskrats are also nuisance wildlife around farms and gardens, where they often feed on growing crops. They especially seem to like eating eggplant, zucchini, pumpkins, and other squash; and they have an annoying habit of taking just a single nibble or two out of every single squash in a planted row, destroying the whole harvest for a few morsels of food.
Other Assorted Critters
Over the years, we’ve handled a wide variety of animals that don’t become nuisances frequently enough to justify their own pages on our site. These include chickens, feral cats, turtles, lizards, and many other critters. Here are some pictures of skunks, muskrats, and other miscellaneous animals and their control.