Is there a skunk on your property? Skunks are beneficial because they reduce the number of rodents such as mice and rats, yet few people want one residing near their home. Their well-known protective odor is dangerous for dogs and children, and they also destroy gardens and kill poultry. Some of them even carry rabies. Even though you shouldn’t go up to a skunk and try to talk to it, they’re typically not difficult to get rid of.
Skunks, which may be recognized by the black and white stripes on their bodies, are notorious for emitting a nasty odor when threatened. In addition to its pungent odor, a skunk’s spray can inflict severe irritation if it lands in the eyes of a human or animal.
Thankfully, these docile creatures rarely resort to this powerful defense, and they otherwise contribute much to the communities in which they live.
In the event that eviction is inevitable, you can humanely remove skunks from your home by using a combination of subtle harassment and deterrence measures.
Common conflicts and what to do about skunks
If evicting a skunk is unavoidable for any reason, you can do so compassionately by employing a combination of subtle harassment and deterrence strategies.
Skunks digging for grubs leave behind shallow, little holes in the grass, much like those left by squirrels. Garden crops, such as corn, can be damaged, including being pushed over or having their bottom leaves and ears broken off. Also, foxes have their own distinctive musky fragrance, so you might want to keep an eye out for that.
An occasional appearance of a skunk in the neighborhood is nothing to worry about. Skunks are not aggressive toward humans and usually won’t cause any trouble. Many people see skunks as a nuisance, yet the insects and rodents they eat could really be good for humans.
Warning signs to heed
Only when the skunk’s young or it itself is in imminent danger does the skunk resort to its potent defense. Still, they provide plenty of notice before actually attacking, whether by stamping their forepaws, raising their tails, hissing, making brief forward charges, or turning their hind ends in your direction. Spotted skunks are known to do a handstand, rump up in the air, eyes remaining on the potential danger. Quietly and slowly leave the area. Dogs, by their very nature, are impervious to such cautions; hence, it is essential that they be contained.
How do you get rid of skunks?
Skunks’ lingering odor and the fear of getting sprayed might make it difficult for some people to accept their existence under a deck or an old shed. Skunks don’t need much protection overall, but they do need it when the going gets tough, such during the depths of winter or when they have young to care for.
Given that skunks are nocturnal, harmless, and useful, it’s best to leave them alone until they leave on their own (which they often do) or can be safely coaxed out of an area where they aren’t wanted.
Skunks, unlike raccoons, are able to read social cues. If you find their nesting area, you can use loosely packed leaves or newspaper to block off their tunnel entrance. If you notice a change in the paper’s position, it’s safe to assume they’ve departed, so feel free to restock it. Be careful not to stuff it too tightly, because you can accidentally suffocate a mother skunk and her young inside. It’s important to use particular caution around this time of year because of breeding (May-June). Scatter some flour around the opening if you think the skunk may still be inside. Listening to any music will give you a good idea of what’s happening.
To successfully evict a skunk, it’s best to take advantage of the animal’s sensitivity to odors (ironic, right?). An easy method is to prepare pepper spray (one yellow onion, one jalapeno pepper, and one tablespoon of cayenne boiled in two quarts of water, then strained) and spray it around the locations you want the skunk to avoid. You can also use a bent coat hanger to force soaked rags into the skunk’s burrow after soaking them in the solution (bleach can be used for this, too).
If they’ve made their nest in an inaccessible area, such a crawl space or a wall void, this strategy will prove effective. It’s also effective to scatter used kitty litter around the outside of your home, garden, or chicken coop, despite the fact that it’s very unpleasant. The skunk will have to pass them on its way out of the den if they are put near or inside. Some establishments, like garden centers and supermarkets, sell effective repellents.
Do not buy skunk deterrents made with predator urine; they are not effective, are made inhumanely, and are unnecessary.
The use of stronger goods, such as capsaicin-based “hot sauces,” is usually unneeded and, when employed, requires the utmost caution due to the potential dangers they pose to humans and animals alike.
When these less extreme options have failed, it may be time to consider more extreme ones. If you locate the skunk’s burrow, you can use an excluder to keep it out permanently. Due to their lack of climbing ability, skunks can be deterred from your garden with a low metal fence. Since they are diggers, a trench should be dug to anchor the fence’s foundation. Baited live traps with cat food or canned sardines can work, but this is a risky tactic due to the possibility of being sprayed by a skunk. Of course, there’s also the option of hiring experts. Finding a company that offers humane pest control in your area is as easy as conducting a web search or perusing the phone book.
What attracts skunks to your yard?
Skunks are opportunists by nature, so it’s no surprise that they seek out easy food sources like trash and pet food that’s left out overnight, as well as ideal den locations like wood and rubble heaps, elevated sheds, and gaps beneath concrete slabs, porches, and crawl spaces.
The risk of having a bad experience with a skunk can be reduced by taking preventative actions, such as eliminating potential food sources around homes. For example, you should keep garbage in a locked container, put a cover over any exposed window wells, and bring pets inside before feeding them or pick up their food bowls soon after they dine outside.
It is possible that skunks digging in the yard for grubs indicates an overwatered grass, as grubs are attracted to the surface by damp soil conditions. However, a skunk may also enter an unlocked garage or shed on occasion, making it imperative that all such structures be kept locked at all times.
Preventing denning (exclusion)
Denning can be avoided with the help of exclusion tactics that should be implemented before an animal even considers moving in. Any place that could be a skunk den should be investigated to see whether there are any inhabitants.
If you want to do this, you can loosely plug the hole(s) with soil, straw, leaves, crumpled paper, or something else. Overnight, a skunk will simply be able to push its way out of the hole and reopen it.
A hole can be safely filled if the plug is not disturbed for at least two or three nights. Provide the skunks with a little extra time in the winter to dislodge the plug before closing off the den’s entrance; they may be dormant for extended stretches of the season. Skunks (and other burrow-seeking animals) can be kept out for good with an L-shaped footer made of welded wire or other similar obstacles.
The use of harassment or a one-way door system to expel the skunk from the den is suggested. Please make sure there are no young skunks in the area before removing the skunks. If you see them following their mother out to the yard to forage, you can safely presume they are and can use the door. Wait anywhere from two or three nights up to a week with the door open before assuming the skunk is gone.
Keeping Your Property Skunk-Free
Even when the skunk seems to have left, you should still take precautions. Trash cans that close securely will hide your waste from view. Skunks are known to be attracted to dog and cat food, so it’s best to not leave any out. Even bird feeders, if left full, can attract these pests, so it may be prudent to remove the seeds for a time.
A motion-detecting security light is another option for deterring skunks. As nocturnal creatures that avoid light, skunks will likely flee if suddenly blinded by a floodlight. The presence of holes and the presence of overgrown bushes and wood piles are both habitats that should be eliminated. Skunks are no different from any other animal in that they will choose to settle in a location that best suits their needs. You may easily verify that the home is not yours by taking a few basic precautions.
It is possible to safely evict skunks by engaging in some light harassing. Simply loosely repacking the den hole with leaves, straw, or any other material may be enough to send the skunk in search of a new home. They may be persuaded more easily if you make a dark, silent den less appealing by flooding it with light and making plenty of commotion. Before you begin creating disturbances, be sure the skunk is far away.
Skunk in garage
In the event that a skunk finds its way into your garage, you may easily coax it back outside by leaving the door open until after dark. Since skunks are most active at night, letting them in when the door is opened and then closing it again should solve the problem.
To prevent the skunk from establishing a den and having babies, remove all potential food sources (such as bags of bird seed) and store them in airtight containers.
Neutralizing skunk odors
A soak in tomato juice is a common home cure for masking the stench of skunk spray. However, the combination of tomato juice and vinegar does little more than mask the odor; it does not eliminate the chemicals that give skunk spray its distinctively unpleasant odor. A highly efficient cure that can be given to humans, cats, and dogs without worry:
- one quart of hydrogen peroxide at a 3% concentration
- Baking soda, about a quarter cup’s worth
- Liquid dishwashing detergent, 1 teaspoon
Put on some rubber gloves and wash off with this solution right after being sprayed. Avoid getting the solution in your eyes. ( If you’re out of peroxide, baking soda, or liquid soap, you can use vinegar and water as a substitute.)
Caution: There is a risk of explosion if this mixture is made in advance or stored in a bottle, therefore don’t do either.
Scrub the affected area thoroughly with the mixture to remove the stench; however, if you are cleaning a dog or cat, don’t leave the mixture on for any longer than necessary because peroxide will bleach fur. If you rinse off the solution sufficiently, the odor should disappear.
The cruelty of lethal control
People, even those who make a living at controlling wildlife, will go to great lengths to avoid being sprayed by a skunk. Those paid to do so often use a long pole syringe to inject a chemical solvent, like acetone (also known as nail polish remover), into the skunk’s chest from a safe distance, causing the animal a painful and stressful death. Particularly at risk of brutal killing methods are skunks, which can be subjected to something as gruesome as drowning. It is possible to prevent getting sprayed by skunks without causing unnecessary pain and suffering, so long as humane techniques of discouragement and eviction are available.
Public health concerns
The skunk is one of four different types of wild animals that are regarded to be principal carriers of the rabies virus. The others are the fox, the raccoon, and the bat. The leptospirosis-causing disease has also been observed in skunks.
Is that skunk rabid?
Skunks are nocturnal creatures that sometimes venture out during the day to find food, especially after giving birth and while their offspring are still small and hungry. Unless the adult skunk is also displaying aberrant habits, a daytime sighting should not cause alarm.
- Muscle weakness or paralysis in the limbs.
- Hostility that is not justified by provocation.
- Lack of bearings; stumbling around.
- Abnormal mildness.
Need assistance eradicating skunks from your yard? Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from On Demand Pest Control!