Skunks & Raccoons: Behaviors and Seasonal Lawn Damage

Skunks are widely recognized for their unique black and white striped markings and foul odor they can leave behind. Their notorious defensive mechanism is to spray when threatened.


These creatures belong to the weasel family and are typically 15 to 37 inches long. Skunks weight ranges from 1.1 pound up to 18 pounds. Their short, well muscled legs and long claws are ideal for digging. Skunks are solitary, nocturnal animals, spending the day sleeping in dark places such as porches and burrows. Skunks are known to dig up lawns and make their own burrows that can be 3-4 feet deep, 6-20 feet long. Most commonly, they dig in search of grubs and worms. Skunks have excellent smell and hearing, but poor vision. They are vulnerable to road traffic as they cannot see clearly more than about 10 feet away. Skunks have a short lifespan in the wild (no longer than three years). In captivity, it has been documented that skunks may live up to ten to fifteen years.


Raccoons are medium, well-rounded mammals with reddish brown grey fur. Their unique black “mask” facial pattern is a recognizable physical trait. Raccoons on average weigh 15 pounds. They are strong, fierce creatures and possess extremely dexterous front paws. When threatened, raccoons will use their agility, strength, sharp teeth and claws to defend themselves. Racoons, originally thought to be solitary mammals, are in fact social beings. Females have been documented to share common grounds for feeding and resting. Raccoons have remarkable sensory perception. Their paws lack and opposable thumb, but this creates no hindrance of their agile hands. Their sense of smell is vital for communication at night, as well as incredible hearing sense. Raccoons, similar to skunks, have poor vision and are color blind.


Skunks and Raccoons possess similar behavior traits. They are both nocturnal (active at night) creatures. They share common feeding and dwelling habits and can contract and spread rabies. Raccoons and Skunks are both known to cause seasonal lawn damage. Both can dig up lawns in search of grubs to eat. This usually happens at night. Skunk yard damage can be recognized by divots and quarter-sized holes, whereas Raccoon damage can leave huge chunks of grass missing and completely tear apart a lawn. This is a common activity during the Fall months.


Westchester Wildlife LLC offers an array of preventive services related to Skunks and Raccoons. Whether its trapping and relocating, removal, or property inspection, Westchester Wildlife can help resolve the nuisance the animal has caused. For lawn damage, we can refer a landscaper to treat grubs and prevent future damage.

If you or someone you know needs assistance with Skunk or Raccoon Removal and you are in one of our service counties, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, or Fairfield:
Please Contact Westchester Wildlife LLC to schedule an inspection today!
914-760-5713 or 800-273-6673