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  • San Diego Educational Article of the Month - Identifying Skunk Tracks

Identifying Skunk Tracks

Who’d have thought that there are many other ways to identify San Diego skunk tracks other than by the typical smell they leave off the trail? Finding their den may be the first step when you want to get rid of them. With just a little bit of creativity and learning how they behave, you will easily find clues about their whereabouts.

What to take with you
First, you need to bring certain things like a bag of flour and some food with peculiar smell. Do this ritual during the evenings to where you suspect there’s a California skunk lying around. Sprinkle enough flour all over the food (e.g. peanut butter) so that the flour will leave off some powder trails after the skunk eats it as it goes back to its hole. When there is already a trail left, it’s so much easier to get rid of them by contacting your nearest San Diego animal control centre and let them handle their job.

It’s all in the details
Still clueless? Just like any other San Diego animals, you need to take a closer look at the footprints. Skunk tracks leave prints with 5 toes on them both on hind foot and front. The front part will sometimes show 5 claw prints way up against the toe prints in the hind. This is due to the skunk’s longer nails on the front end, which they use for burrowing the soil for some food.

• Visible Carpal and Metacarpal heel pads
• Smaller toe prints on the innermost part
• Inner toes similar to that of human
• Longer claws are visible on footprints (front)
• Shorter claws are visible on footprints (rear)

Watch out for more
Since California skunks have long claws, they often leave off more clues to easily identify their tracks. They have what you call transfer trails where smaller elements are adhered to the original surface it has stepped on. In case the skunk stepped on a muddy ground for example, most likely some remnants will remain under its paws. When it moves elsewhere (e.g. sandy ground), some sand will be mixed up to the muddy deposits that are already under its feet. As it goes from one place to another, a very obvious tell-tale sign would be something like that or it depends on the particle it comes in contact with. Even more so, San Diego skunks are quite notorious to leave certain amounts of transfer, making it easier for anyone to catch their trail in no time.

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