Skunks are generally peaceful animals but can be problematic when they decide to be comfortable in your outdoor space. They can forage in your garden, go through your trash cans, and dig holes searching for insects. Not to mention their reputation for stink is well-deserved. If you got a skunk hanging around, your skunk problem could get out of hand fast.
Co-living with these little wild animals is not a pleasant prospect, and you want to know how to get rid of skunks safely, effectively, and humanely from your property. The last thing you want is to get sprayed trying to remove them. Below we will share a guide on how to get rid of skunks.
What Does Skunks Look Like
Skunks are nocturnal animals that can easily be recognizable with their black bodies and white trips running down their bushy tails. While it is rare, there are smaller spotted skunks and have broken white stripes.
Like some other wild animals, they are susceptible to rabies and carry bacterial diseases.
How to Identify Skunks On Your Property
If you suspect there are skunks co-living with you but have not seen one, here are some signs:
Holes around your yard
Skunk likes to burrow, and insects are skunk's favorite food. For these reasons, you may discover holes around your yard or garden for them to search for food.
Skunk feces are typically about an inch to two with remains of insects in them.
Skunk odor is the number one way people identify if you got skunks on property. When skunks feel threatened or intimidated, they will spray in self-defense. The skunk smell is pungent, unmistakable, and can be nauseating.
If you are unsure if you got a raccoon, opossum, or a skunk hanging around, tracks can help identify skunks. While all these three animals have five toes, skunks have hind feet with noticeably long nails at front feet. Raccoon tracks front foot looks like small human hands. An opossum has wide and oddly shaped feet and thumb-like toes.
How To Get Rid Of Skunks from your Property
They may look cute from afar, but skunks are those pesky little creatures that give a not-so-great gift that just seems to keep on giving. One spray from a skunk and you, your house, and your pets will have a lingering rancid smell stuck to you for days on end.
While commercial skunk repellents and skunk poison (can kill skunks) are available on the market, a few natural and humane options are available to you in terms of repelling and deterring skunks from coming onto your property. Check out our natural tips and humane skunk deterrents for keeping skunks as far away from your home.
Humane ways to Keep Skunks Away
Eliminate the Food Supply
Like many outdoor pests, skunks are attracted to the rot and decay of leftover food tossed in the trash can. While there is no way to completely rid your property of trash, especially if you are awaiting trash day – there are some ways to keep the skunks away from it. Make sure that all of your trash bags are tied shut and stored in a can with a sealed lid. Due to its small size, a skunk will have no way to knock over the trashcan and often leave a sealed container alone if they do not have immediate access to the rotting food.
Be mindful of securing any bird feeders, cleaning up leftover pet food outside or in your garage area, and frequently picking up any fruit, vegetable, or nuts that may fall off of plants or trees in your yard. By paying attention to these outdoor details, you will have a decreased chance of allowing these creatures to linger around your home.
Try an at Home Citrus Solution
Skunks are often disturbed by the scent of citrus and will not likely flock to the area sprayed with a DIY citrus mixture. You can make this spray by boiling citrus peels of your choice for a minimum of 20 minutes. Cool the solution, and then put it in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on plants, gardens, and any area where you may have encountered a skunk in the past.
Plant a lemon tree or other citrus fruits to help act as skunk repellents if you want to take one step further.
Use a Peppermint Oil
Like the citrus solution, you can utilize peppermint oil by combining a few drops with water and placing it in a spray bottle. Repeat the process in areas that have attracted skunks in the past to deter them from coming back.
Spices repellent is another great natural skunk repellent to use to deter skunks. Not only will they dislike the smell, but it can also irritate their nose, making it very effective at repelling skunks.
Boil some diced onion, jalapeno pepper, and cayenne pepper to make this spice repellent. Let it boil for about 20 minutes, and let it cool, strain, and place in a spray bottle. Then spray around your fences or plants, and be sure to re-apply every 3-5 days.
If you have a dog at home, let your dog urine around your outdoor space as predator urine can help deter skunks. But if you don't have a dog, invite friends with dogs over. Or predator urines are available for purchase in stores.
Utilize Motion Detection Technology
Install a Smart Sprinkler
By installing a sprinkler triggered by a motion sensor, you can repel skunks without much effort. If the skunk or pest gets too close to an area with the sprinkler motion detector, it will be sprayed with water and likely flee to a dry area, keeping it at bay, especially after repeated water sprays.
Use an Ultrasonic Skunk Repellent
Like many other animals, skunks have high alert hearing and are sensitive to sounds. Installing an ultrasonic skunk repellent machine will sound off a high-pitched noise when approached and likely annoy the skunk to the point that it will flee the property. The best part is that these devices are often almost powered by sunlight and require minimal maintenance.
Skunks hate bright lights, and by placing a motion sensor flood light can scare skunks away. Placing them around your outdoor space can help get rid of skunks.
Create a Barrier
Installing fencing around your property line will have an extremely diminished chance of allowing a skunk in your yard. Remember, these animals pack a mighty punch but are tiny in size, so they will most likely not make an effort to climb over a fence built to keep things out. You can also use electric fencing by buying ground rods at your local hardware or depot store and placing them around your home.
Since skunks are not generally categorized as climbing animals, you can build a small barrier around the area that you notice tends to attract skunks. For example, if you often find these pests in your garden, you can use materials like metal fencing, aluminum sheathing, or steel wire mesh to build a barrier around the "hotspot."
Build a Skunk Trap
When all else fails, and you have a skunk who just does not seem to give up, you can attempt to catch it by building a trap. This can be done without harm to the animal, so you can safely remove it from your property if needed. There are many DIY traps that can be created and ones that are available for sale already made. If you are making your own skunk trap, here are some items you may need: a concrete form tube, wooden boards, multiple pieces of plywood, screws, string, pins, nails, a tape measure, a drill, and a saw for cutting the wood. You can easily search for ways to create this trap safely, but if not, there are plenty of inexpensive options online for buying one that will come assembled for you.
What to Do if You Are Sprayed
While many precautions can be taken to rid your home of skunks, sometimes you find yourself or your pet unlucky enough to be sprayed by one of them despite your best efforts. If this does happen, you can eliminate the smell with remedies such as creating a mixture of baking soda and laundry detergent to wash the sprayed garments and allow them to air dry.
You can also create a DIY shampoo to remove the smell if your pet gets sprayed. Combine 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap.
While we wouldn't wish a skunk spray on anyone if it does happen to you or someone you know, utilize these tips to rid yourself and your home of these annoying little creatures with minimal time and effort needed.
- Keep your garbage cans in the garage or enclosed rather than sitting outside.
- Remove any other potential food sources like a bird feeder, outdoor cat food, etc.
- Call animal control, pest control, or wildlife services if you can't remove the skunk yourself.
- Mow your lawn. Skunks love the insects that live tall and lushes grass.
- Skunk poison is highly toxic and can kill other animals, including outdoor cats. Avoid using these in your yard.