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How to Get Rid of Skunks and Prevent Them from Returning

You may think a skunk is cat-like and friendly when you first see their adorable little face and fuzzy white and black stripped coat with that long bushy tail and small paw like hands, but you will think different once you have a pet or yourself sprayed by one of these fuzzy creatures. The smell they leave behind after spraying takes days and even weeks to rid from pets, you and even a home. This is why so many people look for methods on how to deter them away when they first notice a skunk in their yard. Usually when you spot, a skunk hanging out in your yard it means they live close by so figuring out how to rid them away is essential for knowing how to prevent them from spraying the heck out of pets, people and anything else that might spook them.

Remove Food Sources and Shelter

When skunks move into your yard it is typically because you have a good food source near by and a cozy shelter for them to hangout inside and sleep in during the day. This is why it is essential too clean up after grilling, pick up picnic areas after feasting and place trash bags in garbage cans that seal up tightly.  Keeping areas skunks might use as shelters tightly closed off such as garages, crawl spaces, attics, and garden sheds helps too.  Skunks also love living under decks and in spacious doghouses that are not in use too. If you have a doggie door leading to the outside, it is wise to lock those at nighttime since skunks are nocturnal animals and will adventure into your home without thinking twice. This can lead to you being spooked and them being spooked and you and your house being sprayed, which by the way is a stinking hard to clean up mess you will never forget.

Keep Yards Neat and Clean and Free from Food 

Skunks love tall grasses they can hide in and any yard that has a lush garden with tons of vegetation, which also includes bird feeders, nut and fruit trees and pinecones. Mowing and raking up your yard weekly or even a few times per month can go along ways to preventing skunks from even entering your yard to begin with. It is also wise to keep any water sources away from them too such as buckets that fill up with rainwater or empty flowerpots you forget to put away when they are not in use. Water sources such as this not only collect water for the skunks to drink out of by they also collect insects, which skunks love dinning on too.

Stack Woodpiles in Closed Off Areas

Leaving a woodpile outside for long periods can attract a skunk to build a home underneath it or within it. When you go to stack the logs, you just might be surprised and sprayed by the unhappy and scared creature living within it too. Always stack logs of wood in garages, woodsheds or any other closed off area as soon as it is delivered to your home as a natural heating source so skunks do not have time to make the pile their new move in spot.

Install Yard Lighting Systems 

Skunks love the dark, but once again, they are nocturnal animals. Placing a lighting source outside your home such as motion sensor ones or UV yard lighting is a great way to deter them in a harmless manner. Even if you see, a skunk in your yard flashing your yard lights on and off using manual indoor switch is enough to scare these little furry babies off and away.

Install Motion Activated Lawn Sprinklers

Just like cats, skunks hate getting wet. Installing a motion activated lawn sprinkler system into you yard is an outstanding harmless method for riding them and keeping them gone for good. Just remember though, when you have the sprinkler system on because if you walk across the yard you will activate the motion sensor to spray water and you will get wet too. Maybe consider placing your sprinkler system on a timer so it goes off at particular times such as nighttime when skunks are most active.

Use a Skunk Trap to Physically Remove the Skunk

If you have a skunk in your yard or home that just will not go away it is time to trap that fuzzy being using a spring-spring loaded skunk trap with bait such as peanut butter, cat food or other tasty treats skunks tend to love. Once the skunk is caught, you can safely take it to another location preferably into the woods away from your home and neighbors to release it. However, you may want to leave this kind of job to the professional fish and game team since being sprayed by the skunk is still possible even when it is trapped inside one of these enclosures.

Call in Professional Skunk Removal Services 

If you have a skunk that has not only built a home, but a whole family of little ones it is time to call in the professionals to get this situation taken care of. Some of the best professionals to call who are experts at handling and removing skunks properly are fish and game services, exterminators and animal  wildlife rescue services. It is never wise to try to take care of this situation by yourself since mama will be protective of her babies and will spray if you get too close.

Keeping Skunks out of the Garden 

If you are trying to keep skunks out of the garden the best way to do so is by placing tin foil along the sides of your garden. When the skunks steps upon the tinfoil it will spook them and cause them too run off instantly, which will help keep your produce and plants safe. Tinfoil also reflects and sometimes a skunk seeing a reflection off the tinfoil is enough to keep them away from garden areas too. If you don’t have tinfoil, placing old mirrors within a garden does the reflection trick, and it works great from keeping other creatures out of your garden too.

Bottom Line for Riding Skunks from Home

Remember, the main sources that attract skunks to your yard are food, water and shelter, but keeping yards nicely mowed and trimmed up also helps keep, the skunks away too since hiding spots are necessary for these beings. Overall, skunks are not aggressive animals, but when they do get scared or feel threatened in any way they will spray and leave a long-lasting nasty odor behind that is hard to rid. Thankfully, products like hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, baking soda and vinegar do go along ways to minimizing skunk odors if spraying does occur on pets, yourself or your home.

Further Resources for Skunk Removal and Prevention:

Living with Skunks – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

How to Get rid of Skunk OdorsNeverPest.com


When do Skunks Come Out? Day or Night?

Nocturnal creatures that love adventuring into the night for a good feast and drink of water are skunks. Coming across one of these furry mammals is enough to make anyone want to jump or runny away as fast as they can, but doing so could actually startle these beings enough to spray you, or the family pet with their horrifyingly disgusting liquid odor spray that will leave you wishing you never came across this being to begin with.

Thankfully, remedies such as tomato juice, baking soda, lavender essential oil and vinegar can help make skunk odor go away. Sometimes even dish soaps such as dawn or ivory work wonders for removing skunk odors too.

However, the only way to avoid these cat-like creatures with long fluffy black and white striped tails and bodies is to learn when these animals love adventuring out of their homes.

What exactly are skunks?

Skunks are mammals that are typically brown and black in color, but some can be brown and white or even strictly white in appearance. The animals can weight between a pound to eighteen pounds and range anywhere between fifteen to forty inches long. Skunks also have elongated bodies with short stubby legs and feet that have long sharp claws for digging.

What do skunks love to eat?

One of the ways to avoid skunks is to keep what they love to eat away from your home. This is why knowing what skunks love snacking on for a meal and keeping your garbage bags stored away inside sealed garbage containers. If skunks have access to any kind of garbage, bag or trash can with food inside of it that is ease to access you can guarantee they will be dining on your trash until their tummies are full. Some of the food that is pleasing to skunks is mainly:

How do skunks behave?

Skunks are usually passive creatures, which is why some people have them as pets. With that said, when skunks are in the wild they are typically solitary animals that will spray and make noises at you or other creatures if they feel threatened in anyway such as getting to close to their dens within the ground or their babies. It is very rare that you see these creatures charging at you when you disturb them because their vision is extremely poor. Therefore, if you come across a skunk it is wise to backup slowly and walk away. This will decrease your chances of becoming sprayed by one, or even bit by one, which by the way is extremely rare. If you are ever bitten by a skunk, it is wise to visit an emergency clinic right away for treatment since some skunks do carry diseases such as rabies.

How to Avoid Skunks?

If you ever want to avoid skunks, you do this by staying indoors at nighttime and away from areas they love, building borrows such as fields and woodland areas. Skunks, as you know, are nocturnal animals, which means nighttime is the only time they come out to hunt, eat, drink and build their homes in the ground. Skunks are around more often in early spring too when mating season begins.

Once a female skunk becomes pregnant, skunk kits are born in litters of four to seven about two months later. While the kits are young they mainly stay in dens with their mothers for the first several months, but a year later will leave their dens and begin exploring again in typically the same areas the mothers being exploring.

You typically see less of these creatures in the fall and winter because these animals stay inside their dens where it is warm and cozy until spring arrives again. However, they can come out of their dens earlier depending on the weather outside and their food supply.

How to Keep Skunks out of Your Yard at Night & Daytime

The notorious, foul spray of skunks can sometimes make them seem like a bigger nuisance than they really are. Not that they aren’t troublesome, but skunks will go out of their way to avoid contact with humans.

But it’s hard to overlook their spray, which is a skunk’s way of deterring potential attackers. If you’ve ever had to wash a pet that’s been sprayed by a skunk, you how strong that spray can be. Beyond that, skunks can also tear up your yard and plants in search of larvae such as grubs. Not that you’ll ever catch them in the act; skunks are nocturnal animals that you’ll rarely see during the daytime.

Here’s something else to consider: skunks can carry rabies, canine distemper, canine hepatitis and a variety of other not-so-nice diseases. All in all, it’s a wise decision to keep them from your yard.

How Do I Know Skunks Are In My Yard?

Even if they’re not spraying, skunks can leave a dull, distinctive odor, especially in and around their dens. If you’re consistently noticing a faint skunk smell when you’re in the yard, chances are they’re become a new (and unwanted) neighbor.

Another sign is shallow, circular holes in your yard. Skunks dig perfectly circular holes in search of grubs and other larvae. You may also notice a footprint much like a cat’s, with five toes. Another clue? If your dog or neighborhood dogs are barking in the night, it could be because they’re barking at a skunk, or skunks.

What Are Ways I Can Keep Them Out Of My Yard?

The good news is that there are a variety of ways to keep skunks from invading your yard, the majority of which are easy to undertake. Here are some of those ways:

1. Remove Food Sources

Skunks are natural scavengers, and if you have trees that produce nuts, berries or anything else nutritious, be sure to rake them from your yard as often as possible. Grass clippings should also be discarded because they may contain seeds or other sources of food for skunks.

If you have a garden, be sure to harvest ripe fruit and vegetables as soon as possible to prevent skunks from getting to them first. Additionally, install a tray under your bird feeder to catch seeds before they reach the ground.

2. Dispose Properly

When it comes to food, be sure to properly take care of you and your family’s discarded food. That means having a lid on your garbage can that cannot be lifted off easily. Always tie trash bags tight before placing them in the garbage can.

3. Let The Light Shine

Skunks are nocturnal and prefer to come out at night under the cover of darkness. That said, light has been known to frighten them, and by installing some sort of bright light in your yard can convince them to go elsewhere to search for food. Motion detector lights can be a good investment and might not bother your neighbors as much, but also keep in mind that animals tend to become immune to specific things over a period of time.

4. Block Hiding Places

Close off spaces around your house that make possible homes for skunks – under decks, porches, and other sheltered areas. Use rocks, fencing or plywood to barricade those places. Skunks are excellent diggers and can squeeze themselves into small holes, so make sure any holes or cracks are sealed tightly. Log piles, lumber piles, and building materials can also serve as hiding places for skunks. Store these in a shed or a bin. Large bushes also provide good shelter for skunks, so you may want to trim back the branches to make them less inviting.

5. Use Chemical Repellents

Some chemicals have been proven to be offensive to skunks and can be placed at the edges of your yard, or where they like to hide. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Ammonia – Soak rags in ammonia and place them under your deck or porch to deter skunks.
  2. Pepper sprays – Sold to also repel squirrels and other small animals, pepper strays are effective skunk repellents. Spray them on trees or other areas where you think skunks have been.
  3. Fox and dog urine – Foxes and dogs are skunks’ natural predators, so their urine is a natural repellent. The good news is that you don’t have to collect the urine yourself since many hardware stores sell products containing fox or dog urine.
  4. Citrus Peels – Orange and lemon peels have natural repellent qualities. Scatter them around your yard and under your deck or porch.

The bottom line is that there’s no need to panic when you suspect skunks have made themselves at home around your house. Following any of the methods above can make their stay short-lived and provide peace of mind.

Skunk Repellent – Deter And Get Rid Of Skunks

Skunks may be cute, but they are also smelly creatures and they can create unpleasant situations when they come on your property. The odor produced by these animals is so powerful that it can create a lot of discomfort and it becomes dangerous when it gets into the eyes of a person. The black and white appearance of the skunk makes the animal easy to spot and recognize, so people who come in contact with it usually know that they shouldn’t get near it. Skunks are not harmful creatures if you don’t get too close to them.

How do you know that you have skunks on your property?

A known sign that there are skunks around is the presence of shallow holes in your lawn. Skunks dig holes that are similar to the ones made by squirrels. You may also find damaged plants in your garden and other signs of activity. Many times you will just feel the smell, without spotting any creature.

Best ways to keep skunks away 

Skunks are attracted to nuts, berries, pet leftovers and garbage. They are scavengers looking for anything that that may be considered food. You should try to avoid having these food sources around your house if you don’t want to attract skunks. Garbage alone is enough to keep the creatures interested and your trash can be one of their frequent targets. You should always keep your trash can properly sealed.

Another measure to take is to avoid having piles of rocks, wood or any closed space that can serve as a hiding place. These stinky animals are nocturnal creatures and they don’t like bright lights. By filling your property with solar powered lights, you can ensure that the garden and the yard are protected against skunks. The use of activated sprinkles can also send skunks away from your lawn, especially if you strategically place the sprinkles where the animals like to take shelter.

Repelling skunks with chemicals

There are a few chemicals that skunks don’t like. No matter which ones of them you use, make sure you place it on the edge of your property and in the places where you know the creatures are usually active. The urine from the natural predators of skunks (such as foxes and dogs) is very a very efficient repellent. It can be collected if you can do it, but you can also find this urine in stores. Mothballs can do a great job too. Other effective chemicals are citrus, ammonia and pepper.

Using harassment to send your message

Skunks are intelligent animals and they know when they are not wanted in a place. This can be turned to your advantage, because you can use different methods of harassment to send a message. Make these animals understand that you don’t want them on your property. This can be done by filling the holes made by the creatures with leaves or various materials, but also by sealing these holes with something solid like metal. Do this often and the creatures may become tired of cleaning their holes, they will eventually get you message and leave.

Using traps and baits

Traps that involve catching the animals in an enclosed environment are great. The main reason is that skunks don’t spray when they are in enclosed spaces. Basically, you need to lure the creature inside the trap with bait (which can be food) and close the trap after the animal gets inside. You don’t have to hurt the animal, as you can take it into the woods and release it there. Lethal trapping is an illegal matter in some states. You can use traps that are designed for raccoons and feral cats as well.  You must be careful to protect yourself from a possible spraying when you release the creature into the woods. Do it as far away from home as possible.

Skunks can be trapped by using their own scavenger nature and turning it against them. You can do this by using a trash can during the night and a long piece of wood. The wood will serve as a ramp, on which the animal can climb to reach the inside of the garbage can. In the garbage can, a piece of food (cat food) will wait. Once the animal is inside, it will not be able to get out and it doesn’t use the spray in closed spaces. Cover the trash can with a lid and take the skunks into the woods. Trapping is probably the best method of dealing with these stinky animals. Make sure you are patient when the animal is inside the trap. It may take some time before it decides to get out.

Removing skunks from garages

When one or more skunks get into your garage, make sure you leave the garage doors opened before dusk. These nocturnal creatures are very active until dawn, but then they leave. By leaving the door open at the right time, you can solve this problem. You must be careful not to let skunks inside the garage for too long, because they can establish a den in there and even give birth. This can happen especially when there are foods around that are easy to access.

Removing skunks from window wells

These animals have weak eye sights and poor climbing abilities. They can become trapped when they stumble into a window well. You will have to offer the trapped animal a way to escape. This can be done by placing a rough board and a material on it for providing traction (clothes, a carpet, or a towel). It also must be long enough for serving as a ramp, at an angle of about forty-five degrees. Another angle may be tricky for the poor climbing abilities of a skunk.

Now it is time to lower the board, but try to stay out of the animal’s sight. The skunk will leave during the night and you should make sure there are no other animals around when the skunk leaves. If the animal cannot get out this way, there other techniques that experts recommend, such as using a rectangular plastic trash can and a piece of cheese. In order to avoid situations like this, use covers for your window wells.

Can you shoot, poison, or gas skunks?

Deciding to shoot these animals may not turn out to be the best idea for getting rid of them because skunks release their spray when they are shot. You surely don’t want that. In fact, it is even illegal in some area, just as poisoning is. There are states that allow lethal gassing, but in others it is not permitted. There is no point in playing games with the law when there are so many natural methods of repelling skunks.

Relying on the professional services as last resort 

As a last resort, or even from the beginning, you can call a company and ask for its staff to help you get rid of the skunks on your property. There are companies that can deal with everything related to skunks, including prevention, control and removal. A firm with experience is able to know what the best course of action is for a certain property and avoid any legal implications.

How To Get Rid of Skunk Smell from People & Pets

Their smell filters through the air and has even the strongest running for cover. Skunk musk is a strong, foul-smelling odor that can seem impossible to remove and can hang around for a month or more when left untreated. Unlike in the cartoons, skunks don’t give off this smell just by being. Instead the musk is shot from glands as a self-defense measure. This oily liquid can shoot up to fifteen feet and can temporarily blind the unfortunate person or animal that gets sprayed in the face. Before learning how to get rid of skunk smell it’s important to know where the smell is coming from.

If a pet was sprayed try to keep them outside until the odor has been removed. If it was a human that was sprayed remove all clothing and quarantine them to the bathroom until all the bathing is finished. This will keep the smell from penetrating too far into the home.

Skunk Odor on Human Skin

Removing skunk odor from human skin may seem tricky, but it’s much simpler than removing it from pets or fabric. Begin by mixing 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, a half cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dish soap. Use a washcloth to apply this mixture to the skin and allow it to sit for a few minutes and then rinse off with clean water for at least 5 minutes. The process may need repeating.

Skunk Smell on Pets

Pets seem to be the first ones to encounter a skunk. Whether because the skunk is trapped in an area with the pet or because the pet simply ran across the skunk, pets and skunks never mix well. The fur covering a pet makes it harder to remove skunk odor. The oily musk sticks to every strand of fur and can take a long time to wash away. The hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap method can work, but may take longer than it does for a human.

Begin by giving the pet a dry bath with a 1 part oak meal and 1 part baking soda mix. Simply cover the pet in the mix and then let it sit for a few minutes. Brush the oak meal/baking soda mix away and let the pet shake off any remaining powder. Not only will the odor be absorbed by this mix, but it will also draw oil away from fur. Once the dry bath is finished the pet should get a wet bath with a commercial skunk odor removing shampoo. Repeat the shampooing as many times as needed.

Skunk Smell on Clothing

Clothing, towels, bedding and any other fabric that can fit into a washing machine is salvageable after a skunk spraying. Wash all item at least twice with the strongest laundry detergent available. If able let the clothing air dry outside. This will help dissipate any remaining sent.

After the wash is complete the washer will need a good cleaning. This can be done with vinegar and baking soda. Set the washer for a large load and use hot water. Add 3 cups of vinegar and let it agitate for a moment before adding a half cup of baking soda. Let it run for another moment and then stop it. Let this sit for an hour or so before letting the washer complete the cycle.

Skunk Odor in the Home

Skunk musk can spread pretty far and will drift into even the most air tight spaces of a home or car. The homeowner should open all the windows and doors. Set up a few fans to cycle air throughout the house.

Use bleach to clean any surfaces that won’t be damaged by the harsh chemical. Other items can be washed with warm water and dish soap. The walls, floors and ceilings should be added to the list of areas to wipe down. If there is an air filter in the home change out or clean the filter. Odor eliminating sprays are also handy for clearing out skunk smell.

Carpet cleaners and shampoos can sometimes effectively remove the offensive smell, but they may have to be cleaned a few times before the odor is gone completely. Rugs should be hung outside to let them air out.

Getting Rid of Skunk Smell on Furniture

Sometimes pets and children run amok and spread the smell to furniture. If the piece isn’t too big to move outside, move it as soon as possible to let it begin airing out. However, larger piece will need cleaning indoors. Remove any covers, cushion cases and anything else removable that can be thrown into a washing machine and wash them. For the rest commercial shampooers can be rented at home and garden stores and they work the best at removing odors. Fabric fresheners, preferably ones that eliminate odor instead of masking it, can also be helpful.

Skunks come and go. They are typically very docile creatures and will only spray when they feel threatened. To avoid getting skunked remember to stay calm and let the skunk go on its way. Teaching children this can help reduce the risk of them getting sprayed. If all else fails and the odor refuses to leave there are professional cleaners can will come in and remove the odor.

Further Resources for Getting Rid of Skunk Smell:

Removing Skunk Odor – University of Nebraska