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!
Wow people can be so cruel. Karma will get you.
Maynard E King says
I have used several different methods to catch skunks but my favorite is a live animal skunk trap because you don’t have to worry about getting sprayed. Using chocolate cookies has been the best bait. I then place the trap with the skunk in it into a 39+ gallon trash bag and slip the bag over my vehicle exhaust. After 4-7 minutes the animal is dead with no pain. Newer vehicles don’t put out as much carbon dioxide so it might longer but is very effective..
I’ve found my geese are very effective is keeping skunks at bay., without creating a stink ( sorry).
Skunks like quiet, and the constant honking & hissing gets on skunks nerves.
Also, I put used cat litter near or in their burrows. Kinda like a subtle message.
Vivian Gawthrop says
I have a skunk that has taken up residence under my bay window. There is fence up, but he dug way under it to get in. Tried moth balls, garlic, habanera and a spray from the greenhouse. Any more ideas?
Shine a bright light on the area at night. They tell me it works.
I believe my skunks make their home in the back part of the basement. They come for breakfast every morning when I feed the feral cats. If I am patient I will wait till the cats are finished and move the food. If not, they venture out to eat the food. Can’t really plug up any holes as there are too many. Just live with them and try not to irritate them.
Montana Rancher says
I find the best method is the live trap, I get several a year and find the best bait is a cracked open half egg on the trip plate.
Once in the trap I have a small blue tarp purchased for a buck, I hold it up between me and the trap and walk up to the trap and drape it over, never been sprayed yet.
In the summer I tie a rope to it and chuck it in the pond, wintertime I open the door and 20 gauge them when they run for it.
I drop the carcas in a remote part of the pasture and usually eagles and Hawks clean up or they disappear, I suspect fox or coyotes.
Just shot a small one last night with my .17 HMR but trapping is the best way. I suppose this seems a bit harsh to city folk, but have a skunk get into the chicken coop and you become more practicle.
I agree with most of the above except shooting. Not that I am against shooting in general, but you really don’t want to have to deal with a wounded skunk on your property.
In addition to the other ideas, I have had very good luck with moth balls. They seem to deter most mammals. I live in the country and have my share of unwanted critters.
Phyllis Poole says
Snakes also do not like moth ball scent
Not at all PC, BUT …….
depending on where you live, something quiet, like a good pellet rifle or a slingshot and low-level lighting work, too.
Double-bag the gloves and the trashbags – skunks stink.. So do ‘possums. If better than me with a slingshot (my oldest son was an artist with one) get some “crackerballs” next 4th of July season.. You hit a critter in the butt (no damage) with one of those and it probably won’t return.