Is there any threat other than possible spraying to feeding wild skunks?
We have a family of skunks who have been visiting us to eat cat food. We are debating on putting them a bowl of food away from the cat food because we know cat food is bad for them. Last night they let us get about 3 feet from them without even caring. So are there any negatives to feeding the mama and babies?
Yes. Skunks are widely known to be the carrier of rabies. The incubation period can be up to a few months. Even though they look healthy today? Tomorrow they could be deadly. I would avoid them.
There is a better solution.
Cats climb and jump well.
Put the cat food on an old table. You may have to lift your cats up there the first few times until they work out that's where the food is now. Cats generally don't mind elevated food stations and they work well for keeping most wildlife away from the cat food.
With all due respect Jennifer..... What about squirrels, raccoons, and birds?
I did say 'most'. And in the case of regular skunks (not small spotted skunks, which are better climbers)...they're not going to be going up there. Squirrels and birds won't argue with your cat anyway and NOTHING short of padlocks stops raccoons.
Rabies! And believe me you might be 3 feet away from them but if something else frightens them, you will be in the line of fire--it is an experience you will never forget. Wild animals should be admired from a distance and not fed. You are essentially training them to trust human beings and not everyone might be as benevolent and kind as you are. They need to fear man.
Rabies!! Last fall there was a skunk that was in front of my house and it was staggering, foaming at the mouth, and very obviously sick with rabies. So, be careful with any wild animal...you never know!
Certainly there's a danger to you from a wild animal. You can also be a danger to them. As others have said, rabies and other diseases can be carried by skunks. By feeding them, the skunks lose some of their natural and smart fear of humans. Once you stop putting out the food, and you probably should, they might go looking at other homes. Chances are they won't receive such a nice welcome. Wild animals should be fending for themselves to survive. It's just better for all creatures involved.
As everyone else has already said, rabies is a real threat for you and your pets. If you continue to feed them they will stay around your home indefinitely, which could be dangerous for you and for them. You don't want them to become too friendly either, a lot of people hate skunks very much and the next humans that these skunks encounter might try to harm them, which is a lot easier to do when they are semi tame ...
Thanks for the answers. These skunks seem as if someone has already fed them in the past because they have zero fear of us and seem to be friends with our cats. Very weird and nothing like what we are use to dealing with out here. I looked up the statistics on rabies and skunks and the number of cases does seem to be on the rise. While I don't think we will be putting food out for them, I don't think we plan on running these little guys off any time soon. Thanks again.
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