To Get Rid of Skunks, Do This

Eastern Spotted Skunk doing handstand

Skunks can be problematic at the best of times, especially when a skunk decides to make itself comfortable in your yard. It will dig holes to look for insects and forage in your gardens and trash.

If you're an owner of chickens - the skunk poses a possible threat to the chickens and their eggs.

A skunk can also dig under your house or your deck, possibly causing damage to your home and the wiring. Not to mention, a skunk's spray is pungent and hard to get remove.

When deciding how best to approach the removal of a skunk on your property, you first need to understand you run the risk of being sprayed by a skunk so you need to plan accordingly.

There are a variety of critters which may be in your garden, so you'll need to identify if skunks are indeed the problem. 

Identifying if Skunks are on your property:

deck with hole underneath

Is there evidence of Skunks Eating Grubs?
You may find holes around the yard or along the edges or your home. This is a sign where a skunk has been searching for food. They like to burrow, and insects are a skunks' favorite food.

If you're wondering how to get rid of skunks eating grubs, you might consider starting at the source. Eliminating the grubs using beneficial nematodes would be your best bet.

It can be hard to determine whether you have skunks or raccoons in your yard in the beginning since both creatures like to dig shallow holes in search of food.

Can you find any Skunk feces?
You may or may not find skunk feces in your yard. It's typically about an inch or two long, with the remains of insects in it.

Can you smell Skunk spray?
The number one way to tell if you have skunks on your property is the strong scent from their spray. It's pungent and unmistakable! Side note: The terrible scent is caused by a mixture of chemicals containing Sulfur, called Thiols.

When a skunk feels threatened or intimidated, they'll spray the area as a form of defense. As well as skunks having poor eyesight, they're not able to aim either so be thankful they won't hit you directly with their spray. Also, anything which spooks them will cause them to lift their tail and spray.

What To Do When You Have Skunks In Your Yard or House?
Firstly, determine how bad the situation is. Is there any suspicion of a skunk having babies under your house or is it just a rogue skunk which made its way into your yard on a random night?

Depending on the situation, you may want to consider hiring a professional.
If you decide to move forward without professional assistance, proceed with caution. Start with the least invasive method and work your way up the solution ladder.

What Attracts Skunks?
Removing objects which attract a skunk is the first and easiest thing you can do to ensure the skunks don't stick around or continue coming back.

Is there pet food around?
Skunks will eat your pet's food - even if it's old food. Make sure you put it away, especially at night.

Garden Plants
Skunks are omnivores, so they also eat nuts, plants, and berries.
If you have a garden growing, you may find some of it dug up and things are eaten.

Garbage
When times get tough, skunks have been known to dig through the garbage in search of scraps. Make sure your trash cans have a tight-fitting lid and don't leave any trash bags by your door.

Grubs, Earthworms, & Insects
Earthworms are great for your soil, so you don't want to eliminate them but for grubs and other insects, you might consider getting rid of them so skunks aren't as attracted to your yard or anything in it.

Shelter
Skunks are always in search of shelter, especially if a female is preparing to birth a litter of kits. If you see holes near your deck or smell the faint scent of skunk spray, it's possible a skunk made a den on your property. 

Chickens & Eggs
If you raise chickens, they may be attracting skunks to your property and, believe it or not, skunks can take out an entire flock of chickens, along with their eggs.

 

How To Get Rid of Skunks: the details

The striped skunk

Getting rid of skunks in your yard breaks down into fairly easy-to-apply steps.

The trick is to pinpoint exactly what's bringing them to your property in the first place, as well as which deterrents and repellents are most effective for your situation.

Once you have established what these are, there are simple steps to follow.

Listed below are the general steps and then we go into detail for each step afterward.

Step 1: Eliminate Attractants, as mentioned earlier.

Step 2: Apply Skunk Repellents and Deterrents

Step 3: Check To See If The Skunks Have Left The Premises

Step 4: If The Skunks Still Remain, Adjust Repellents and Deterrents To Drive The Skunks Away

Step 5: Set Catch and Release Traps

Those are the basic steps and ideas behind it. Now let's go into the details for each one.

Skunk Repellents and Deterrents
There are a few options available to you in terms of repelling and deterring skunks. All options mentioned are 100% natural and safe. They will not harm the skunks, your garden, or any other animals.

Home Repellents For Skunks
Many people are curious about what home remedies will get rid of skunks.
Some of these homemade repellents can work. However, if the skunks are comfortable enough, they may not be as effective.

Remember, with homemade repellents comes the responsibility of frequent applications. Wind and rain easily wear down on the scent and taste.
  • Homemade Skunk Repellent Spray: a mixture of hot peppers, onion, jalapeno, cayenne pepper, and water, boiled for a few minutes and strained.
  • Predator Urine The urine of your own pets may work if you're able to collect it, or you can purchase predator urine at a variety of outdoor stores.
  • Ammonia: place ammonia-soaked rags in buckets around the perimeter of your yard.
Please do NOT use chocolate as a skunk repellent. The Theobromine found in chocolate is poisonous to skunks, as well as many other animals.

You may have heard Mothballs as a commonly suggested method, but they're highly toxic, with very little results and we mentioned earlier we would only give 100% natural and safe methods which will not harm the skunks, your garden, or any other animals.

How To Get Rid of Skunks with Home Remedies
All of the above homemade skunk repellents should be applied daily until the problem subsides. If you believe the skunks have left your property, you can slowly cut back on the number of applications, increasing them again when you suspect they may be starting to creep back. However, there are better ways!

1. Deterrent Lights
Solar LED Deterrent Lights are typically used to protect livestock animals from predators, but it's effective for this application too.

A skunk's eyesight is not great but they will be able to see the two glowing LED lights. They will assume they're the eyes of a predator because the eyes do not move. It's highly unlikely the skunk will spray the device. They'll likely just leave the area.
 
2. Under Your House, Deck, or Shed
deck with hole underneath
If there are skunks under your shed, house, or deck, the situation becomes a little more complex. They've made themselves at home, and it's not easy to get them to leave.

Search your property for dens, and apply the repellents around the opening. Predator urine, in particular, is great at driving skunks out of their den, but they'll soon return so you'll have to close up the hole once you're certain it's empty, and then continue applying repellents around the den opening.
3. Using Catch & Release Traps For Skunks
skunk trap

If nothing else has worked, setting up the catch and release traps may be your last hope. They're highly effective, but it's not without drawbacks. You'll have to go out of your way to not get sprayed while you transport and release the skunks.

We advise you to check your local and state laws regarding the trapping of skunks before proceeding.

4. How To Trap Skunks

The first thing you'll want to do is pick out a skunk trap. The ideal size for a live skunk trap is large enough for them to move around somewhat comfortably but small enough that they aren't able to lift their tail up super high to spray.
Skunks are far less likely to spray you if their tail can't lift up all the way!

5. What Bait To Use For Skunks?
It's important to use the proper bait when trying to catch a skunk.
Some reliable options include:
  • Canned Sardines
  • Cat Food
  • Bacon
  • Bread and Peanut Butter
  • Insect Larvae
  • Chicken
Skunks have an incredible sense of smell, so the smellier the food, the better!

6. How To Set Up The Trap
Set the skunk trap up close to their den (as this will make it easier to catch), or anywhere you know the skunks are frequenting. Do this in the evening, then check the trap in the morning.

7.Where and How To Release Skunks
Once the skunk has been caught, approach the trap carefully and calmly. Be sure to bring a towel or blanket to drape over the top of the cage. This protects you and also discourages the skunk spraying and calms the animal down.

Like most wild animal releases, you don't want to take the skunk too far away from your home, but you don't want to drop them off a block away either. If the skunk can't find it's way back to the area they're familiar with, they may starve and die. You must also take into account the possibility of the skunk having kits to care for. When in doubt, call your local animal control. They will help you figure out the best course of action (and perhaps determine if there are babies around).

The key to the catch and release method is to protect your yard after releasing the skunk a couple of miles away. Do what you can to protect it after you have released the culprit/s. Should they find their way back to your home, you don't want them going back to their old ways. Set up better fencing, or use plenty of repellents and deterrents.

Frequently Asked Questions
1. What will keep skunks away?
Frequent applications of homemade repellents or infrequent applications of the commercial repellent spray should suffice in keeping skunks away.

If the problem persists, there may be open food or water sources you're unaware of. Be diligent about removing attractants.

2. Is it legal to kill skunks?
We never advocate the killing of any wild animals at Predator Guard. Every animal plays an important role in the ecosystem of your area. As far as laws go, check your local and state laws regarding the protection of skunks. Spotted skunks in particular are fully protected in most states.

3. Should I use skunk poison?
Poison of any kind isn't advised, not only because it poses a threat to the skunks you're trying to get rid of, but to the plants, pets, and other animals in your area. It's a health risk to everyone involved. 

Considering there are ways to get rid of skunks without the use of poison, we urge you to at least explore those opportunities first.

4. Do skunks bite?
Skunks are not typically aggressive, and biting is rare. This does not mean you should not be careful. Most cases of skunks biting humans have occurred when the animal is infected with the rabies virus.

If you're worried about your pets, they're far more likely to simply get sprayed by a skunk than a bite.

5. When do skunks have babies?
Skunks breed in the late winter, typically in February and March. The gestational period for female skunks is roughly 60 to 75 days, with an average litter size of 6 to 8 kits.

6. Do mothballs work to keep skunks away?
Mothballs can work to keep skunks away, but they're not the most effective or natural solution. They're highly toxic, and when you're around them, you're essentially inhaling insecticide. They're bad news for your garden, pets, and your family's health. Don't do it.

7. When do skunks come out?
Skunks are active all year long, and they don't hibernate, although they do sleep longer during the Winter. They're nocturnal, meaning they're most active at night. This means you're far more likely to smell skunks on your property than you are to see them.

Are you dealing with skunks on your property? What methods have been most effective for you? Which methods didn't work? Let us know in the comments below!
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