If you live almost anywhere in North America, you know how annoying skunks can be. When one’s occupying your backyard, it’s a little frightening to go outside. If not for the potential spray, but also because they leave skunk poop everywhere!
But what does skunk poop look like? Skunk droppings look remarkably similar to cat or possum poop. Let’s go through some other essential facts about skunk poop and how to identify it.
What Does Skunk Poop Look Like?
When people find skunk feces on their lawn, it most commonly looks tubular and mushy. Skunk poop primarily consists of berries, garbage, insects, and small mammals. Because of their wide array of food, skunk poop looks unformed and very soft-looking.
The best marker you can look for to identify skunk poop is to look for a tubular shape and blunt ends. Often, skunk feces will have a smooth surface, but it’s also common to find poop after it’s dried. Dried skunk poop often loses its shiny exterior, looking drier.
Skunk Poop Pictures
Below is an actual image of skunk poop via Wildlife Removal:
Skunk Poop vs. Possum Poop: The Difference Between Skunk Poop and Possum Poop
Possum poop is the most similar type of poop to skunk scat. Concerning skunk poop vs. possum poop, there are some telltale signs you can look out for to identify the droppings correctly.
Possum poop is generally dark brown and looks similar to small dog poop. The most significant difference between possum and skunk poop is the lack of seeds in possum poop. Possums don’t consume fruits with seeds. Therefore you won’t see any in their droppings.
Size, Texture, Shape, and Color
Generally, skunk scat is between 1 and 2 inches long and a 1/2 inch in diameter. Skunk droppings are not well-formed, so the texture is often dry and will fall apart if you disturb it after it dries. Skunk scat can range in color from light brown to almost black (depending of course on what the skunk ate).
Skunk feces is tubular, meaning it looks different from other animals like deer, which have a spherical shape. It also has blunt ends caused by the animal’s sphincter. Commonly, you’ll find undigested fruits or insects in their droppings.
Is Skunk Poop Hazardous for Pets?
Skunk poop is harmful to both pets and humans. Skunk poop can transmit a number of illnesses that can be harmful to your pets or even your family members. Some of the most common diseases skunk poop can transmit include:
- Canine Distemper
- Feline Panleukopenia Virus
- Baylisascaris columnaris
These diseases are all dangerous and can cause long-term harm or even death. The two most common diseases spread by skunk poop are listeriosis and canine distemper. Listeriosis can infect humans and pets, while canine distemper infects dogs.
The best way to prevent the spread of potentially lethal diseases is by cleaning up skunk poop when you see it. Use a shovel and dispose of it in a sealed container. Wash your hands and the shovel thoroughly after disposing of the droppings.
Many home and property owners come across animal feces and are concerned about what animals may be lurking. Being able to identify the feces that wildlife and rodents leave behind will not only let you know what animals are in the area, but also can give clues as to how many of them are present.
At first, it can be distressing to find foreign looking animal feces in your home or on your property. Fears of aggressive or rabid animals, as well as the diseases they may carry are often the first worries.
Protecting your family and pets is of utmost importance. However, taking the time to correctly identify the feces is essential in assessing the threat or risk from the animals.
This research will also enable a home or property owner to devise an effective strategy for keeping any pest animals out of their homes, barns, or other areas where they are not welcome.
Scat Identification Techniques
- The first thing to do if you come across scat, or feces from animals, is to observe the location of the droppings. Notice where the feces are in relation to buildings, other structures, other animals, water, roads, and vegetation. Different animals will place their droppings in particular locations and this can be the first clue to identifying them.
- Next, observe the placement of the scat. Are the feces hidden or buried? Are they randomly dropped all over an area with seemingly little regard for placement, or are they tucked away in corners or neat piles? These factors can greatly narrow down the list of possible culprits.
- Note the size of the scat. If you are investigating feces found in your home or on your property, it is a good idea to obtain a ruler or tape measure that you can use to measure. Some animals’ feces may look identical to others from the same family, and size may be the only distinguishing feature. *REMEMEBR: animal feces can carry both diseases and parasites so they should never be handled without gloves.*
- What is the shape of the found fecal matter? Some shape characteristics to look for include if the feces are round, tapered at the ends, completely tubular, round pellets, twisted, or moist mounds.
- An additional clue to the species of animal leaving the scat is what is included in the feces. Berries, hair, seeds, and plant parts should all be looked for in the droppings. This information can be used to identify the animal that left it.
- Lastly, look around the area where you first identified the scat. In cases of feces from animals that have similar appearing feces to another species, it can be helpful to search for nearby footprints or tracks left by the animals. This can be used to confirm species.
Final Thoughts: Skunk Scat & Your Pet
Skunks are a fairly common animal in North American yards. So, if you see skunk feces in your yard, make sure you clean and dispose of it as soon as possible. Not only is it a nuisance, but it’s also potentially harmful to your pet’s (and your family’s) health.
Not sure about the droppings you’re seeing? Check out our other guides to animal scat: