The skunk may be the loneliest animal in the world.
We've all heard of racial profiling but have we ever thought about specie profiling?
1. Myth: Skunks are rabies carriers. (Fact: This erroneous statement implies that all skunks carry rabies. All mammals can contract rabies if infected from the bite of a rabid animal. Most wild animals stay clear of skunks to avoid being sprayed in the eyes, so the odds that a skunk will get bitten by another species is rare.)
2. Myth: Skunks are the number one carrier of rabies. (Fact: Unvaccinated outdoor cats and free-roaming dogs are a much higher risk because of their access to wild animals. The reported totals of how many skunks have rabies are very biased numbers. Each county has a different animal that ranks number one.)
3. Myth: Foaming at the mouth is a sure sign of rabies. (Fact: Foaming at the mouth can also be a symptom of distemper, coccidia, round worms, ticks, or other internal or external parasite overload, diabetes, poisoning, liver failure, epilepsy, allergies, herpes, and severe dehydration and emaciation, all of which are more common than rabies.)
4. Myth: If you are bitten by a rabid skunk, you will die. (Fact: Research statistics show that 70% of those untreated victims of rabid animal bites did not get ill or contract rabies when they followed proper and immediate cleansing of the wound.) Still, it should not be treated lightly!
5. Myth: Animal rehabilitators might accidentally release rabies-infected orphan skunks. (Fact: Highly unlikely if done right. In the four to five months it takes to rehabilitate baby skunks, any who have rabies would have shed the virus and already died. Any skunks released will have been observed long enough to be confident they do not have rabies.
6. Myth: Skunks carry rabies up to two years. (Fact: This has never been proven. Even IF it were true, you can only get rabies from a bite of a rabid animal up to a week before it shows clinical signs of rabies whether it is two weeks or two years. At that time the rabies would be in the saliva where you could contract the virus. The rest of the "carrying" time you, nor any other animals, would not get rabies.)
7. Myth: There is no rabies vaccine for skunks. (Fact: This is not true! There is documented proof that the Imrab "killed virus" rabies vaccine works on 100% of the tested skunks, and it immunizes from one to two years. Just because this vaccine hasn't been "approved" yet, doesn't mean that it isn't "proven".) It just hasn't been approved for use on skunks yet. Vaccinating skunks before release helps in rabies control.
8. Myth: If you are sprayed in the eyes by skunk spray, you will go blind. (Fact: This is not true. There are a couple rare cases where an animal and a human died after being sprayed in the eyes by a skunk, but it was because of the stress from it that caused a heart attack. The dog was left without being cleaned of the stench and it couldn't handle this. The man had such a bad heart that any kind of stress would have had the same results.
9. Myth: Skunks are useless vermin. (Fact: Skunks are important to the balance of nature. They kill all rodents; black widow spiders, rattlesnakes, scorpions; and garden pests such as snails, crickets, gophers, grubs; cockroaches and all other insects.
10. Myth: You can get rabies if sprayed in the eyes. (Fact: You can only get rabies from the saliva when bitten. There are rare cases where one could get rabies from handling the blood of a rabid animal's brain or if a rabid animal was shot in the head and it got into a cut or eyes.)