There are many animals in South Carolina that occasionally make nuisances of themselves, but that don't do so frequently enough to merit their own pages on this site. The Columbia, South Carolina office of Rid-A-Critter invites you to contact us if you have a problem with any kind of nuisance animal, not just the ones on this site. Chances are that we can help.
In the meantime, let's use this page to talk about what we'll call the "second-string" nuisance critters. They're not important enough to have their own pages, but we get enough calls to remove them that we at least want to mention them.
Skunks are very recognizable, small- to medium-sized animals. They used to be classified as part of the weasel family, but they've recently been classified as their own family, known as Mephitidae. They are, of course, best known for their ability to spray a foul-smelling liquid at would-be predators with pin-point accuracy.
The skunks we get in South Carolina are striped skunks, who are usually black in color, but with a white stripe that covers the entire upper parts of their bodies, from head to tail. In some individuals, the white stripe is so broad that it makes the animal look predominantly white. Some folks believe that when the skunks' white stripes get broad like that, it's a sign that we'll be having a cold winter. (We think it's just individual variation in coloration.)
Despite the skunk's impressive weapon and reputation for using it, skunks are actually relatively passive -- almost tame, in fact -- by nature. Adult skunks are also very reluctant to spray and do so only when they are scared for their lives. (The younger ones tend to be a little more trigger-happy, though.) If they have the time, skunks almost always give warning before they spray, usually by snarling, hissing, stamping their feet, and arching their backs.
If the person or animal they're afraid of is silly enough to ignore all those warnings, then the skunk will spray them. But if the perceived threat slowly backs off and walks away, chances are that the skunk will do the same. They really don't like spraying. They don't like the smell, they find it irritating, and it leaves them defenseless for a while because the scent glands take some time to refill.
Other than occasionally moving into crawl spaces or the spaces under porches or stairs, skunks very rarely cause any problems that require them to be professionally trapped and removed. They do sometimes fall into places like empty pools or basements of houses that are under construction, however. What that happens, they're usually amenable to being rescued by any passing human. But because skunks are susceptible to rabies, you really shouldn't handle them, no matter how much they beg you to. Call us instead. Rid-A-Critter provides skunk trapping and removal throughout the Columbia, South Carolina area.
Muskrats are medium-sized rodents that are fond of living along the banks of bodies of water. They're brown to black in color and slightly longer than a Norway rat in size, but are much stockier and heavier. Their tails are about the same length of their bodies and have a unique shape: Toward the distal ends, their tails are shaped like knives standing on edge.
Those tails serve muskrats well as rudders while they're swimming. Muskrats are excellent swimmers and love living along the water's edge, where they build nests called "lodges" out of branches, twigs, and mud. These lodges often cause localized flooding, which is one of the two main reasons why muskrats are disliked. The other is that muskrats are serious pests of vegetable crops. They actually damage more of the crop than they eat because they're nibblers. They'll take a nibble out of every vegetable in the garden if you let them.
Muskrats are controlled mainly by trapping and removal. You can also try to fence them out of planted areas, but because they're burrowers, the fence will have to extend into the ground at least 12 inches. Most wildlife authorities suggest using chain-link fence material with openings no greater then 2 inches, extending 12 inches into the soil and 24 inches above it, and tilted away slightly toward the outside of the planted area to make it harder for a muskrat to try to climb.
The Columbia, South Carolina Regional Office of Rid-A-Critter provides control of many more animals than can be listed here. If you have an animal problem, please contact us. Chances are that we can help.