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 a skunk’s diet consists of insects and small rodents that are a nuisance to humans.
- Skunks tear apart garbage bags and knock over bins.
- When one of these malodorous critters feels threatened, it lifts its tail and sprays a foul-smelling liquid at its enemy—as far as 6 m!
- Like raccoons, skunks will turn up sod in yards looking for white grubs; this leaves cone-shaped holes between 7 and 10 cm wide.
- Skunks can carry the rabies virus. If you see a skunk displaying aggressive behaviour—e.g., ranging far from its den in broad daylight—move away immediately.
Skunks in the USA
Skunk Prevention and Control
When skunks are already living under a building, they can be coerced to leave in the following manner
It is not recommended to shoot skunks, in that it often results in the release of their odor. It is not recommended to shoot skunks if the skunk needs to be captured for rabies testing.
Skunks or raccoons?
Although we’re talking mainly about skunks here, it may be that the culprits responsible for the after-hours excavations are actually raccoons. So how can you tell which is to blame? Well, unless you see them, sometimes it can be hard.
The tracks can help – both animals have five-toed tracks, but sometimes skunk tracks only have four since the fifth doesn’t always press down. If a skunk sprays, you will certainly know about it – the infamous odor can be smelt up to a mile away.
However, in some ways, the question is not so important since raccoons and skunks are both after the same thing and can be dealt with in mostly the same ways. We’ll continue talking about skunks – but remember, most of what follows applies to raccoons too.
Deal with the grubs and you deal with the skunks
This means that to prevent skunk activity in spring, you need to make sure your lawn is free of grubs for them to eat – and the best way to do this is by applying beneficial nematodes.
Nematodes are tiny, almost microscopic creatures that burrow into the ground and feed on the grubs but that are completely harmless to larger animals and humans.
If you live in an area that is particularly prone to skunk activity, you should consider applying nematodes – they can be sprayed into your lawn with water – each year at the end of the summer.
With nothing to attract them to your lawn, the skunks will hopefully go and dig holes in your neighbor’s grass instead.
The added bonus is that the lack of grubs will allow your grass to grow thicker and stronger, which will in turn make it harder for the skunks to dig holes at all, doubling your defense.
What to do if you come face to face with a skunk
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 a last line of defense, and first, they will simply try to amble away.
Skunk Odor Control
Bathing 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 the young are born from mid-spring until mid-summer. Generally, there are 4 — 6 young per litter. The young skunks are weaned at 2 months and usually leave to establish their own den by fall.
Trapping and removing skunks is a good option. But considering the danger of being «skunked,» I would use a Live Skunk Trap with a Cover.
To be on the safe side, take the skunk at least 6 to 8 miles away. Check with your game and wildlife department before trapping and releasing them.
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 feet for digging. Their tracks are unique from other similar-sized wildlife animals, as their front and hind paws look entirely different.
Skunks do not hibernate during the winter, and for shelter they often form communal skunk burrows under decks, porches, or buildings. Skunks mate in January and February to have 4-6 baby skunks, or “kits,” per litter.
Skunks are most commonly known for their repulsive smell. This can be caused by a skunk being frightened, a dead skunk, or a male skunk spraying to fight another male over a female skunk during mating season.
A skunk’s spray can reach up to 10 feet away and they usually give a warning when they are about to spray. This warning includes stamping their front feet, arching their tail forward over their back, and hissing.
Avoid the Stink! Get rid of skunks and their stink now!
Public Health Concerns and Safety Risks
However, it is important to note that skunks are not typically aggressive animals unless they feel threatened. This means that prodding pets are more likely to scare skunks, increasing the chance of a bite or getting sprayed.
Skunks are especially a danger to pets, as their spray can cause burning of the eyes as well as temporary blindness. Luckily, it has not been found that skunk spray itself carries diseases.
If your pet was sprayed, this does not mean that will contract a disease, unless they were bitten as well. Regardless, it is still recommended that they be checked out by a veterinarian following a skunk spray.
If you find yourself in an encounter with a skunk, avoid sudden movements as this could startle them causing them to spray.
Helpful Tips for Skunk Odor Removal
If this does happen, here is a solution for skunk odors that has been reported as effective:
- 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent
Top 8 Signs of a Skunk with Rabies
Though not all skunks have symptoms of rabies, they can still be carriers of the disease. Signs of a skunk that potentially has rabies include:
Over the Counter
Skunk Prevention Solutions and Limitations
Here are some of the claimed skunk prevention treatments, as well as some measures that actually can work:
A good way of making your property unattractive to skunks is to manage how many insects and small critters there are. Skunks dig in search of grubs and other insects, and will leave if they do not find any.
Blockade & Exclusion
Block entry points once you are sure that there are no skunks stuck inside. To ensure this, you can use a one-way swinging gate so the skunks can get out but cannot get back in.
Habitat modification is more of a preventative skunk treatment, as it requires reducing or completely removing a skunk’s access to food, water, and shelter. This will be explained in detail in the following section.
Damage Control Tips to Prevent Skunks and Future Infestations
To avoid future skunk problems, some prevention tips include:
Wildlife Damage Management
With the listed over the counter skunk methods, it may seem reasonable to take matters into your own hands. However, even though the wildlife damage property, it is important to consider the legal status of each wildlife animal in your area.
There are certain wildlife animals that are protected by law, so it is highly suggested to take this factor into account when using at-home critter methods and control products (such as live traps) instead of control companies.
Relocation of 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 of infection and spreading of the disease.