How To Stop Skunks From Coming In Your Yard
Are skunks useful or bothersome?
- 1 Are skunks useful or bothersome?
- 2 Skunks in the USA
- 3 Skunk Prevention and Control
- 4 Skunks or raccoons?
- 5 Deal with the grubs and you deal with the skunks
- 6 What to do if you come face to face with a skunk
- 7 Skunk Habits, Diet and Biology
- 8 Skunk FAQ
- 9 Skunk Identification and Facts
- 10 Over the Counter Skunk Prevention Solutions and Limitations
- 70% of the skunk’s diet consists of insects and small rodents that are a nuisance to humans.
- Skunks tear open garbage bags and knock over trash cans.
- When one of these vicious creatures feels threatened, it raises its tail and sprays a foul-smelling liquid at its enemy — from up to 6 m away!
- Skunks can carry the rabies virus. If you notice a skunk acting aggressively — such as moving away from its burrow in broad daylight — move away immediately.
- Like raccoons, skunks tear up turf in yards in search of white grubs; they leave cone-shaped holes 7 to 10 inches wide in the turf.
Skunks in the USA
Skunk Prevention and Control
If skunks are already living under a building, they can be forced out as follows
Note type=green] Shooting skunks is not recommended as it often releases their odor. Shooting skunks is not recommended if the skunk must be captured for rabies testing. note]
Skunks or raccoons?
Although we’re mainly talking about skunks here, you may find that the culprits responsible for the after-hours dig are actually raccoons. So how can you tell which one is the culprit? Well, until you see them, it can sometimes be difficult. Tracks can help — both animals have five-fingered tracks but sometimes a skunk’s tracks only have four, because the fifth doesn’t always press down. If a skunk splashes, you’ll definitely know about it — the infamous smell can be detectable up to a mile away. Note type=yellow] However, somehow, the question isn’t that important because raccoons and skunks are both after the same thing and can be treated in mostly the same ways. We’ll continue to talk about skunks — but keep in mind that most of what follows also applies to raccoons. note]
Deal with the grubs and you deal with the skunks
This means that to prevent skunk activity in the spring, you need to make sure your lawn is free of grubs that they can eat — and the best way to do that is with beneficial nematodes. Nematodes are tiny, almost microscopic creatures that burrow into the soil and feed on grubs, but are completely harmless to larger animals and humans. If you live in an area that is particularly susceptible to skunk activity, you should consider using nematodes — you can spray them on your lawn with water — every year in late summer. With nothing to attract them to your lawn, skunks will hopefully dig holes in your neighbor’s grass. An added bonus is that the lack of grubs will allow the grass to grow thicker and stronger, which in turn will make it harder for skunks to dig holes at all, doubling their defenses.
What to do if you come face to face with a skunk
Note type=yellow] If you find yourself face to face with a skunk, don’t panic. You really don’t want to get sprayed — but the skunk doesn’t want to spray you either. Their spray is their last line of defense, and they’ll just try to move away first. note]
Skunk Odor Control
A bath in tomato juice will help treat odors on dogs. Pour it on the dogs straight and massage and shampoo.
Skunk Habits, Diet and Biology
Mating occurs in late winter (February and March), and cubs are born from mid-spring to mid-summer. There are generally 4 — 6 cubs per litter. Young skunks are weaned at 2 months of age and usually leave to establish their own den by fall. [/note].
Trapping and removing skunks is a good thing. But given the danger of being «skunked,» I would use a Live Skunk Trap with a lid. To be safe, take the skunk at least 6 to 8 miles away. Check with the animal department before trapping and releasing the skunk. To avoid being sprayed by a skunk, use a spray-proof skunk trap.
Skunk Identification and Facts
Both the striped skunk and the spotted skunk have sharp claws on their front paws used for digging. Their tracks are unique compared to other animals of similar size because their front and back paws look completely different. Skunks do not hibernate in the winter, and often create communal burrows under decks, porches, or buildings for shelter. Skunks mate in January and February to have 4-6 young skunks, or «kits,» per litter. Skunks are most commonly known for their repulsive odor. It can be caused by a frightened skunk, a dead skunk, or a male skunk spraying to fight another male for a female skunk during mating season. Skunk spray can reach up to 10 feet, and skunks usually give a warning that they are about to spray. This warning includes stomping its front paws, arching its tail forward over its back, and hissing. Avoid the stench! Get rid of skunks and their stench now!
Public Health Concerns and Safety Risks
Keep in mind, however, that skunks are generally not aggressive animals unless they feel threatened. This means that scaring your pets may frighten a skunk, increasing the chance of being bitten or sprayed. Skunks are especially dangerous to pets because their spray can cause burning eyes, as well as temporary blindness. Fortunately, skunk spray itself has not been found to transmit disease. If your pet has been sprayed, it does not mean that they will contract the disease unless they have also been bitten. Regardless, it is still recommended that you have your pet examined by a veterinarian after spraying a skunk. If you do encounter a skunk, avoid sudden movements as these can startle the skunk and cause it to spray.
Helpful Tips for Skunk Odor Removal
If this happens, here is a solution for skunk odor that has been proven effective:
- 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent
Top 8 Signs of a Skunk with Rabies
While not all skunks have symptoms of rabies, they can carry the disease. Symptoms of rabies in a skunk include:
Over the Counter Skunk Prevention Solutions and Limitations
Here are some of the stated ways to prevent skunks, as well as some measures that may actually work:
A good way to make your property unattractive to skunks is to manage the amount of insects and small animals. Skunks dig for grubs and other insects, and will leave if they don’t find any.
Blockade & Exclusion
Note type=yellow] Block entry points once you make sure there are no skunks inside. To do this, you can use a one-way swing gate so that skunks can leave but cannot enter back in. note]
Habitat modification is a more precautionary way to deal with skunks because it requires limiting or completely removing skunk access to food, water, and shelter. This will be discussed in detail in the next section.
Damage Control Tips to Prevent Skunks and Future Infestations
To avoid future problems with skunks, there are several prevention tips you may want to use:
Wildlife Damage Management
After learning about the skunk control methods available on the market, it may seem like a good idea to take matters into your own hands. However, even if wild animals are causing property damage, it is important to consider the legal status of any wild animal in your area. There are certain wildlife that are protected by law, so it is highly suggested that you consider this factor when using critical control methods and products (such as live traps) in your home instead of control companies. Moving skunks is not legal because skunks are one of the most common carriers of rabies in California, and this puts other people and animals at risk for infection and spreading the disease.