We aren’t talking about the adorable cartoon character Pépe Le Pew here: this article deals with real skunks that are a serious nuisance. Whether you are looking to protect your friends, family, pets, or even yourself, nobody wants to be sprayed by a skunk. Their musk can travel up to fifteen feet, and boy is it ever hard to get rid of that smell!
Before you do anything crazy, you need to realize that skunks can carry rabies, so you should never approach them directly. If a skunk bites you or anyone else, be sure to have them tested. Read this article for some of the best ways you can follow to get rid of skunks once and for all!
1. Remove all food sources
Skunks are scavengers, and they will eat just about anything they can get their paws on, including bird eggs, small rodents, bugs and larvae, and garbage, so don’t leave any food out for them! As soon as a skunk finds something delicious to eat in your yard or anywhere else on your property, the chances are high they will come back for more (and they might bring their buddies as well!)
Skunks are nocturnal: they thrive on darkness, and perform most of their mischief at nighttime. You likely will not be awake to police them during these hours, so take all of the necessary precautions beforehand:
Never leave garbage bags unprotected outside. Use a heavy-duty metal garbage can with a solid lid on it, so even if a skunk manages to knock it down (or any other pests like raccoons do so), the lid will stay on. This applies even on garbage nights! Never leave unattended garbage bags outdoors.
If you have pets, don’t leave their food dishes outdoors. This is simply asking for trouble, and you will likely have an entire family of skunks living on your property before you know it.
If you have fruit trees or bushes on your property, make sure that skunks cannot access them, or be sure to clean up any fruit that happened to drop on the ground. Rodents enjoy this food source, and skunks enjoy the fruit and the rodents! You don’t have time for double trouble.
Remove any other food sources on your property, including water sources, bird feeder spills, or any other forms of open food, such as a compost heap, for instance. Be sure to cover your compost to keep the critters out!
2. Trying out skunk repellants
If you are still having trouble getting rid of skunks, then skunk repellents might be next on your list. Try one or all of these suggestions:
Because skunks are nocturnal, they don’t like bright lights. Try using a motion sensor in your yard that will turn on once your unwanted guest arrives. Use some flood lights as well to really amplify the effectiveness.
Just like automated lights, automated sprinklers can also help. Skunks aren’t huge fans of getting soaked with water. This can also help water your lawn in the process! Pest services even sell motion detecting water sensors specifically designed for pests like skunks.
You can also find several commercially designed skunk repellants to help your cause. These include spicy pepper solutions, for instance. You might even have success with a natural approach of applying a homemade pepper paste around high traffic skunk areas. Remember that you will need to reapply these sprays frequently so that they remain effective!
3. Put up some skunk barriers
If you have a resident skunk living on your property, don’t fret! You can follow several solutions for getting them out of your life. Skunks live under porches, houses, sheds, and just about anywhere else they can fit. Try and seal off these areas as best as you can!
The best strategy is to put up some barriers around areas that skunks find interesting to help keep them away. Keep in mind that skunks cannot jump (almost at all) so these barriers do not need to be very high. However, skunks are good diggers and they can fit through openings roughly four inches in diameter.
Basically, you want to make a skunk’s job as hard as possible for them. If they cannot see a space for them to get to on the other side of an obstacle, they won’t bother burrowing towards it. Fill in holes, ditches, or any other gaps that they might try and sneak into.
A great solution you can use in this regard is chicken wire. Chicken wire is affordable and easy to install, and it also annoys skunks. And squirrels. And raccoons! The list goes on. Make sure you install the chicken so that it is high enough that they cannot get over it, and deep enough that they cannot dig under it. Sink your wire at least a foot into the ground.
4. Track their movements
If you want to get rid of skunks but don’t want to trap them inside your barricade, it’s time to become your very own private eye: who doesn’t love a little detective action?
Use chalk or any other form of powder and sprinkle it near the opening to the skunk den. You will have to stay awake for a while for this to be effective, but it will be worth it in the end! Wait until you see skunk’s tracks in your powder leading away from their den. Once they are gone, quickly get to work sealing up all the open entranceways. If you move quickly and effectively, the skunk cannot get in. If they do happen to find another way in, just try again the next night!
5. Use some skunk traps
If you have tried everything else and the skunk is still sticking around, it might be time for the next step: trapping your skunk and sending him on his way! Always check with your local authorities to ensure it is legal to trap skunks in your area.
When buying a trap, make sure it is small enough that any skunk you capture cannot raise its tail inside the trap. If it can, you will have an awful time approaching the cage!
For safety purposes, attach a few old blankets or towels outside of the trap so that you don’t get sprayed. Use any food with a strong odor in the trap, like sardines, or canned cat food. Check your trap often in case you accidentally catch some other animal!
After trapping your skunk, cover the trap so that the skunk cannot see outside and secure it in your trunk. Don’t smother the poor guy! Drive your skunk a long distance from your home and set him free in the woods. Open the trap, and let the waiting game begin. The skunk will leave eventually, but it will likely need some courage (so don’t be afraid about getting sprayed immediately). If the skunk refuses to leave, just wait a few hours and come back for your trap, which should be empty.
Getting rid of a skunk doesn’t have to be a massive process. With a little bit of work and preparation, your yard should be skunk proofed in no time: and eventually skunk free as well! Good luck in your skunk removal quest.