Personally, I find skunks downright adorable. From afar. Like, really afar. If I can’t smell them or see them running around near me, I love them. The last thing I want though is for a skunk to make a home of my home.
I’m sure we’re all on the same page here, right? So, what can you do? There are a few steps you can take to make sure a skunk doesn’t discover that it likes your backyard as much as you do.
Skunks like to make shelter underneath decks or sheds, typically. They also tend to dig small holes in yards, eat from gardens and trash, and can spray pets or your family members if they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.
To prevent this from happening, there are a few steps you can take. First, make sure your garbage isn’t lying around and easy for animals to get into. Lock up your garbage bins to prevent skunks and other animals from making a mess and being attracted to your home. Make sure that your garden isn’t easily accessible to critters, too. Also, if you have wood piles outside, consider keeping them in a shed or bib. Skunks may also use these as shelter.
While putting a fence around your garden will keep skunks from climbing, you’ll also want something to keep them from digging underneath it for access. Sprinkle deterrents around the fence as extra protection. These include cayenne or chili powder, which you’re likely to have on hand already, and pepper spray or products containing fox/dog urine (which you can purchase at a hardware store)!
You can also use mothballs or ammonia-soaked cotton balls to keep them away. They hate both smells, but always be mindful that these aren’t in places where children or pets tend to play.
Sometimes, it’s too late for prevention. Here’s what to do if a skunk has already made itself comfortable:
Consider installing motion lights, which will scare them off. This you can do closer to your house so that you aren’t disturbing them. This will also scare away other skunks from making your home theirs while you work to get rid of the one(s) you already have.
Now to remove them, the first thing you’ll want to do is set a trap. You can purchase a spring-loaded skunk trap and lure the skunk in with peanut butter. You can also prop a piece of wood against an empty, 30-gallon metal garbage can. Lure it in with food and prop the bin against something so that it doesn’t roll or fall over.
With both methods, you can relocate the skunk to a wooded area. Make sure to wear heavy clothing, gloves, and a face mask in case the skunk sprays when you release it. You can also tie a rope around the garbage can lid and remove it from a distance.
If none of these methods appeal to you, you can always give animal control a call. These are trained professionals who have dealt with removing skunks many times before.
If you find yourself in a stinky situation, make sure that you take the right steps to get rid of the smell. AAAnimalControl.com recommends that you mix the following ingredients to get rid of the smell:
Mix these together and wash/shampoo thoroughly immediately after you mix the ingredients. Let it sit for five minutes before rinsing tap water and repeating if necessary. If you were sprayed in the eyes, be sure to flush them with water as soon as possible.
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.