To some, skunks are a smelly nuisance, while others find descented skunks affectionate and intelligent pets. You'll find several species of wild skunk throughout the state of Colorado, including striped, spotted and hog-nosed skunks. While they offer excellent pest control for scorpions, black widow spiders and grubs, their tendency to scatter garbage and carry rabies has inspired state laws in Colorado.
It is illegal to keep a skunk -- whether wild or domesticated -- as a pet in Colorado. Skunks commonly carry rabies in the state and although skunks are vaccinated with dog vaccines, they are not proven effective for skunks, necessitating an animal be put down and tested should it bite anyone. Skunks may pass distemper to other pets, as well as canine distemper virus and leptospirosis to humans. All skunk bites in Colorado must be reported to the county or state health department.
The best way to eliminate skunks around your property is to store garbage and pet food in wildlife-resistant containers, remove piles of junk or lumber and install fencing around lawns and gardens that extend 2 feet below ground level. Colorado allows you to trap skunks in live traps using peanut butter, eggs, sardines or cat food. Check traps daily and destroy striped skunks, as the state prohibits moving them due to rabies risk. You may relocate spotted and hog-nose skunks with a permit. Skunks also may be shot in rural areas.
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