Skunks tend to live as close to a food source as possible, so be careful to not inadvertently provide food sources for them. Skunks eat insects, grubs, garbage, bird seed, fruit, vegetables and small mammals.
In a residential area skunks usually make a home under a garden shed, in a wood pile, a rock pile or in a ditch. Skunks are nocturnal and are rarely seen during the daytime hours.
Skunks mate in late winter, early spring with a gestation period of 63 days. A litter of skunks can be as few as two or as many as ten babies. The babies are usually born in late April or early May and will remain with the mother all summer long. They finally leave home in the fall.
Skunks foraging for food can do a lot of damage to your lawn digging up clumps of grass at a time or rolling back large areas of sod. Skunks really like Japanese Beetle grubs so if you have a skunk doing considerable damage to your lawn chances are you have a grub problem and the grubs are quietly doing as much if not more damage to your lawn.
Treat your lawn with an grub control product to eliminate Japanese Beetle grubs. Skunks love fruit that has fallen to the ground, keep the area under fruit trees raked up.
Fence in your vegetable garden, skunks are poor climbers and won’t be able to scale the fence. However, they can dig under the fence so bury the fence about 12″ in the ground.
If you suspect you have a skunk under a shed or in a wood pile you have a few options. You can catch them in a live trap, but in most states it’s illegal to relocate them because they carry rabies and other disease. Consult with your local animal control office for advice in this area. Skunks are fairly easy to trap because they will go to great lengths when they smell peanut butter, bacon or any other food with a strong aroma.
Use a trap designed for skunks so they don’t have enough room in the trap to get into a spraying position.
Another option is to make them feel unwelcome. Skunks do not like bright light. I’ve heard of people shining bright lights under the shed and or playing talk radio for them. However, lights are a fire hazard and an electrical shock danger.
The better option is to wait until the skunk has left the den and then you can seal the den off with wire screen that closes off the opening and is buried at least 12″ into the ground. Skunks typically come out right at dusk and stay out most of the night. Think about the timing of your efforts. From May until late August there could be young in the den all night long.
Not sure if the skunk has left yet? During the daytime sprinkle baking flour around the area then you can check for tracks after dark and know that the skunk is out and about.
I hope this helps!