Chances are, if you live in a rural area, you know the scent of a skunk – and they are stinky! The scent of their spray can linger for days! Don’t fall victim to skunk activity and learn natural ways to deter skunks!
While skunks are generally harmless creatures, it’s best not to get too close to them. You risk getting a dose of their noxious spray, or worse, a bite from a skunk carrying rabies.
-This post was originally posted on http://www.icumsa.org/ and has been shared with permission-
It is common to see increased skunk activity during the fall as they try to gain the extra weight they will need to survive the winter. They will also be actively looking for their winter hangout. Skunks will burrow under sheds, homes, businesses, porches, decks, crawlspaces and woodpiles to create a home. They will enter foundation openings to get to these spots or to create skunk holes. They have large feet with well-developed claws, which make them very good diggers.
So, how can you deter these stinky pests? In this article we’ll go over the following:
- Removing sources of skunk food and shelter
- Various skunk deterrent methods
- How to remove skunks from your property
1. Removing sources of skunk food and shelter
Remove nuts, berries, and other natural food sources.
Skunks are scavengers, so they’ll eat anything nutritious they can find.
- If you have trees that produce nuts, berries, crabapples, or other fruits, clean them up by raking your yard as often as necessary.
- Other vegetation, like piles of grass clippings, should also be discarded, since it may contain seeds or other sources of food for skunks.
- If you have a garden, harvest ripe fruit and vegetables as soon as you can, to prevent a hungry skunk from feasting on them.
- Use a tray under your bird feeder to catch most of the seeds, and clean up stray seeds dropped by birds often.
Protect Your Waste.
Like raccoons and other stray animals, skunks can survive on garbage alone. It’s important to keep your trash cans properly sealed.
- If possible, store your trash bins in a shed or in your garage at night, so their smell doesn’t attract skunks.
- Use an enclosed compost bin, since skunks like to eat old fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, and other items that you may be composting.
Close off hiding places.
Skunks like to make their homes under decks, porches, and in other sheltered areas.
- Close off spaces that may be appealing to skunks using rocks, fencing, or plywood.
- Log piles and piles of lumber or building materials can serve as shelters for skunks. Store the materials in a shed or bin to prevent skunks from moving in.
- Large bushes are also good shelters for skunks. If you see skunks hanging out in bushes or low vegetation, you might want to trim back the branches so it’s not quite as appealing.
2. Various Skunk Deterrent Methods
Install lights in your yard.
Skunks are nocturnal, and they shy away from bright lights. If you light your yard at night it will be a lot less appealing to skunks.
- Since the lights will be shining all night long, consider using solar lighting or energy-saving lighting to avoid paying high electrical bills.
- You could also install a motion sensor that gets tripped when a skunk or another creature comes close. In this case, the skunk will have to enter your property for the light to work as a deterrent.
Use different scents to deter skunks.
There are a few different scents known to be offensive to skunks. If you place them around the edges of your yard and in areas where you suspect skunks like to spend time, the skunks will start avoiding those areas.
- Fox and dog urine deters skunks, since foxes and dogs are skunks’ natural predators. If you can figure out how to collect dog urine, that’s fine to use. You can also buy products containing fox or dog urine at hardware stores. Spray it around the perimeter of your yard.
- Pepper sprays, also sold to repel squirrels and other wild creatures, are effective skunk deterrents. Spray them on trees and other areas where you’ve seen skunks.
- Ammonia also deters skunks. Soak old rags in ammonia and place them under your deck or porch to keep skunks from coming in.
- Citrus peels have natural repellent qualities. Scatter orange or lemon peels around your property and under your deck or porch.
Install motion-activated sprinklers to deter skunks.
These automatically turn on when an animal wanders too close, and are a safe and natural way to keep skunks away from your property. Place them strategically close to areas where you suspect skunks might want to shelter.
3. How to remove skunks from your property
Set a trap.
Spring-loaded skunk traps lure the skunk inside with bait, then close the door behind them so they can’t escape. The skunk is then carried away from your property and set free in the woods or another open, wild area.
- Bait the skunk trap with peanut butter, canned sardines, cat food, or other strong-smelling foods. Set it near the skunk’s den or its route of access to your property.
- Traps designed for raccoons, feral cats and other wild animals also work well for skunks.
- When you release the skunk in the woods, wear heavy clothes and gloves, and make sure your face is positioned well away from the door where the skunk will exit the trap. Most of the time, skunks leave traps calmly, but you should take precautions just in case you get sprayed.
Make a garbage can and ramp trap.
What you’ll need:
- 30 gallon (113.6 L) metal garbage can
- A long, sturdy piece of wood (preferably a 2×4)
- Just before dark, place the garbage can upright where you want to trap the skunk. Have it against something strong, such as a wall, so that the skunk cannot tip it over. Bait it with cat food.
- Get a long, sturdy piece of wood (it must be thick and heavy enough to hold a skunk, maybe a 2 x 4). Use it as a ramp to allow the skunk to get from the ground to inside the garbage can.
- The skunk will not be able to get out of the garbage can. If handled carefully, it will hopefully not spray.
- After the skunk is inside, put the lid on the garbage can. Put it in your truck and carry the skunk away to a wooded area. Release by tying (or clamping) a twenty foot or longer cord to the lid handle. This will allow you to take off the lid and letting the skunk make its own way back into nature without danger of getting sprayed.
Do you have a deterrent method not listed here that you would like to share? Please tell us your ways to deter skunks in the comment section below.
Products to help you deter skunks and maintain a skunk-free yard:
- In need of an animal trap? Check out this Large Collapsable Humane Live Animal Trap
- A Predator Guard Solar Powered Predator Deterrent could be just the thing you need to effectively keep skunks out of your yard
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