How to Get Rid of Skunks
Skunks are nocturnal animals that are naturally shy and non-aggressive. They prefer insects and small animals for dinner, instead of your garden. However, they will occasionally visit gardens, and if they do, it might be because other plants or corn are close to the ground.
Although skunks look cute from a distance, they can stink up the joint and make off with some of your best produce under the cover of the night. So if you want to keep skunks out of your yard at night, scaring them might not be a great idea because you might slip and fall. They might also spray you when they are startled or feel threatened. Skunk spray is pungent and quite unpleasant.
Here is how you can get skunks to leave without hurting yourself:
So Why Are Skunks Attracted to My Backyard and Garage?
Having skunks in your garage or backyard doesn’t mean that your space is unkempt or filthy. On the contrary, the chances are that there’s something in your yard that’s attracting the creatures.
Some of the things that can attract skunks to your property include the following:
Skunks are omnivores; however, they also eat plants, nuts, and berries. Therefore, if you have a garden growing in your backyard, you might find some of it dug up and eaten.
Ensure that you put your pet’s food away, especially at night, because it’s most likely to attract skunks.
Skunks are known for digging through the garbage in search of scraps when unable to find any other food. Therefore, it’s best to ensure that your trash cans have tight-fitting lids and you don’t leave any trash bags by your door.
Chickens and Eggs
If you have chicken, they might be attracting skunks to your property. It’s best to be careful because skunks can eat your chickens and their eggs.
Skunks are always looking for shelter, especially if a female is preparing to give birth to a litter of pups.
Check this too: How to Get a Bird Out of the Garage
Grubs, Earthworms, and Insects
If you have a garden, you shouldn’t eliminate earthworms because they are great for your soil. However, you should consider removing grubs and other insects if you don’t want skunks to get attracted to your yard.
How Do You Identify Skunks on Your Property?
Your backyard might have several critters; therefore, you’ll have to identify that skunks are indeed your problem before dealing with them. Here is how to tell if there are skunks on your property:
You might or might not find skunk feces in your backyard. Skunk feces are about an inch or two long, with the remains of insects in them.
Skunks Eating Grubs
You might discover holes around your yard, or along the edges of your home, from skunks searching for food. Skunks like to burrow, and insects are their favorite food; therefore, you should consider starting at the source if you want to get rid of skunks.
You can eliminate the grubs using beneficial nematodes. However, it might be challenging to pin down whether there are raccoons or skunks in your yard because both animals like to dig shallow holes searching for grubs.
You can tell if skunks are on your property if you smell their strong spray. It’s unmistakable and intense because of the mixture of chemicals containing sulfur, called thiols. When skunks feel intimidated or threatened, they will spray the area as a form of defense.
Although skunks have poor eyesight, they can still aim pretty well. They always lift their tail to let out the nauseating spray whenever pets or predators spook them.
Best Home Remedies to Get Rid of Skunks
Many people are always looking for eco-friendly remedies to get rid of skunks. However, before you think of eliminating them, it’s best to pinpoint what’s attracting them to your property and which repellents or deterrents are most effective in your situation.
Here are some possible solutions if you’re looking for a home remedy to get rid of skunks:
- First, eliminate the attractants mentioned above.
- Next, apply skunk repellents and deterrents.
- Third, confirm if the skunks have left the premises.
- Finally, if the skunks are still there, adjust deterrents and skunks to drive them away.
- Set Catch and Release Traps
Home Repellents for Skunks
If you’re looking for eco-friendly ways of eliminating skunks, home repellents might work. However, they might not be as effective if the skunks are comfortable enough.
It’s best to remember that if you’re using homemade repellents, you will have the responsibility of applying them frequently because certain elements, such as rain and wind, can quickly wear down on the taste and scent.
Some famous skunk homemade repellents include:
- Ammonia: You can place ammonia-soaked rags in buckets around the perimeter of your yard to keep skunks away.
- Predator urine: The urine of your pets can also work if you’re able to collect it. Alternatively, you can also purchase predator urine at some outdoor stores in your area.
- Homemade skunk repellent spray: You can make this spray by mixing onions, jalapeno, water, cayenne pepper, boil for a few minutes, and straining it.
Although it’s a highly recommended skunk repellent, it’s best to avoid chocolate. The theobromine found in chocolate is poisonous to many animals, including skunks.
Most people also suggest mothballs; however, they offer minimal results and are highly toxic.
It’s best to apply the above home repellents daily until the skunk problem subsides. However, you can slowly reduce the number of applications if skunks leave your property. Conversely, you can gradually increase the applications if you suspect they will creep back.
You can use LED lights to keep skunks away. Although a skunk’s eyesight is not excellent, it will be able to see glowing LED lights and assume that they’re the eyes of a predator. However, because the eyes do not move, it’s implausible that the skunk will spray the lights. Instead, it will most likely just leave the area.
Skunks Under the House, Shed, or Deck
It’s a bit challenging to get rid of skunks under your shed, house, or deck if they’ve made themselves comfortable. Instead, you can search your property for dens and apply the repellents around the opening. You can opt for predator urine because it’s excellent at driving skunks out of their shelter; however, they might soon return.
You might have to close the hole up once you’re sure that it’s empty and continue applying repellents around the opening of the den.
Catch and Release Traps for Skunks
If most home remedies haven’t helped get rid of skunks, setting up the catch and release traps might be your last hope.
Although the traps are highly effective, they also have their drawbacks, the primary one being that you will have to go out of your way to transport and release the skunks without getting sprayed.
Additionally, it’s best to check your local state laws regarding the trapping of skunks before using this method.
Can I Trap Skunks on My Property?
A live skunk trap might be an excellent solution for a skunk that has taken shelter in your yard or garage. Skunks are known to spray their pungent smell when threatened; therefore, you might be hesitant to use this method. However, it’s one of the best techniques of eradicating a stubborn animal such as a skank.
You can take some of these steps if you don’t want to get sprayed:
- First, hold a large sheet or towel in front of you, down to your knees, as you walk towards the trap.
- Approach the trapped skunk calmly, humming softly as you near the trap to avoid upsetting the animal.
- Drop the sheet or towel over the cage once you reach it. A skunk will not spray if it can’t see its target.
Once you’ve caught the skunk, it’s best to figure out where and how you will release it. Like most wild animal releases, you don’t want to take the skunk too far from your home or too close. If the skunk can’t find its way back to the area it’s familiar with, it might starve and die.
It would help if you also considered that the skunk might have kits to care for. You can call your local animal control if you’re unsure of the best course of action.
It will help if you remember that skunks can still find their way to your home after releasing them. If they find their way to your home, you don’t want them going back to their old ways. You can protect your yard by setting up better fencing or using a lot of repellents and deterrents.
How to Get a Skunk to Relocate on Its Own
You can try these methods if you want to keep skunks out of your yard at night or have them relocate on their own:
Cut Their Food Supply
Skunks love insects; however, they will dine on anything available. If you cut their food supply completely, they will likely not stick around. You can eliminate their food supply using these methods:
- Cover trash cans with tight-fitting lids and place them in a secure place where they can’t be easily tipped over.
- Do not put kitchen scraps in your compost. Instead, keep it well covered until the skunk moves on.
- Prevent skunks from scavenging by regularly picking up fruits and nuts that have fallen from trees.
- Feed your pets indoors, or clean up any leftovers as soon as they finish their meals.
- Secure bird feeders to ensure that they can’t be turned over, and be keen to clean up any spilled seed.
Once you eliminate all food sources, you can try the following techniques to get skunks to relocate on their own:
- Erect a 3-foot fence to keep them out of the areas they’re unwanted. Skunks are excellent diggers; therefore, it’s best to ensure that whatever you install goes at least a foot deep. Additionally, ensure that the fence is pretty tight because these critters can squeeze through a hole as small as four inches wide.
Is It Illegal to Relocate Skunks?
Relocating skunks to wild or wooded areas is illegal in most states because it will likely result in their death since they will have trouble finding adequate water, shelter, and food. Additionally, they won’t have a natural immunity to foreign diseases and parasites.
While there isn’t a definite answer regarding the exact distance you should transport a skunk, most experts recommend at least ten miles away. The further away it is relocated, the less likely it will be to return to the area around your home.
Is It Illegal to Kill Skunks?
Skunks can be annoying; however, it’s best to find out what the state, provincial, or local laws state regarding the killing of skunks.
Here are some laws regarding the killing of skunks in the US:
Alaska encourages trapping and releasing skunks because there’s no shortage of habitat. In addition, you don’t require a permit for killing or releasing skunks.
The state encourages the trapping and relocation of skunks. However, you must obtain an Arizona Game and Fish Department permit before releasing a skunk. Additionally, skunks are classified as predator animals; therefore, you can kill them. Although poisoning skunks is unlawful and shooting them is illegal within city limits.
California classifies skunks as non-game animals that can be hunted and killed.
Colorado doesn’t permit snap traps for skunks. You can use a cylindrical trap or a Havahart cage trap; however, it is not lawful to relocate the skunk. Instead, it must be released unharmed or destroyed on-site.
- Indiana permits the killing of skunks if you have a hunting permit between October 15 and March 15 of each year.
- Connecticut allows the killing of skunks if you get a permit before the skunk is killed. However, there is a limited season for killing skunks, usually, after they’ve weaned off kits and left the den.
- Maine permits the killing of skunks between October 17 and December 21 each year, as long as you obtain a hunting license first.
- Kentucky permits the killing of skunks if all safety laws are observed; however, it regulates the transportation of live skunks across county lines.
- Texas permits killing skunks year-round. However, there are specific locations where the discharge of firearms for any reason is a state jail felony.
- New York permits killing skunks during publicly announced fall and winter hunting dates for people with a hunting license.
- Minnesota permits the killing of skunks with air rifles.
- Tennessee permits the killing of skunks; however, it prohibits the transportation of skunks into the state.
- Vermont permits the hunting of skunks under the same regulations that apply to fur trappers. However, skunks are pretty rare in Vermont; therefore, you may not get a permit to kill them automatically.
Is It Illegal to Kill Skunks in Canada?
Most Canadian provinces have different rules regarding killing skunks in other parts of the area that might change yearly. Therefore, it’s best to contact the local natural resources for further information.
For example, the laws in Ontario, Canada state that municipalities can hire licensed hunters or trappers to help deal with fur-bearing animals such as skunks, beavers, and coyotes within their municipal boundaries. However, these animal control activities can only be carried out during the open season unless the animal is about to damage property or damage it.
However, Canadian laws discourage the removal of skunks from your property to crown land or rural areas.
What Do They Do With Trapped Skunks?
Trapping is the best way of getting rid of skunks; however, it’s best to be prepared for the eventuality of what to do with it once it’s caught up in your trap. It’s advisable to make this decision before setting the trap so that you can avoid keeping the animal inhumanely in your cage for an extended period while trying to figure out the next steps.
Additionally, it’s best to understand that a trapped skunk is most likely to be frightened, which might increase the risk of spraying. The best way to calm the animal is to cover the cage with an old blanket, towel, or cloth because darkness will have a soothing effect. You can talk in a gentle voice while covering the cage to avoid getting the skunk off guard because it might spray you.
If the skunk starts stomping its feet, turning its rear end towards you, or raising its tail, then it’s time for you to run away as fast as you can if you want to avoid getting sprayed.
After trapping a skunk successfully, you can do the following:
It’s best to check with the local game commission in your area to understand the laws regarding relocation and release before releasing a skunk back into the wild. Then, once you’ve established a good release area several miles from your home, you can transport the animal to the location.
Ensure that you cover yourself with gloves and heavy clothing during the transportation process because the skunk may be agitated at this point. While they might leave the traps calmly, it’s always best to take these precautions if it decides to spray.
It’s best not to release a skunk that you suspect of being rabid, that is showing signs of aggression, salivation, or very nervous activity. Instead, be on the lookout for symptoms such as circling movements, limb weakness, disorientation, unusual tameness, or unusual boldness.
If the skunk exhibits any of these signs, it’s best to take it to your local animal department for rabies testing and possible elimination.
What Is the Ideal Skunk Relocation Distance?
The ideal relocation distance is five miles; it will even be better if you travel ten miles away. When you select a relocation area for a skunk, ensure that it has a water supply, proper coverage and is not in a place where the skunk can easily invade other homes.
However, if you can’t find an ideal location that fits the description above, your best option might be to get a professional to take care of the skunks. Professional wildlife companies have perfect relocation areas, and if not, they have humane ways of dealing with a skunk.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell
Skunks often use their spray as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened; however, the odor left behind is pungent and one of the most difficult smells to remove from pets, homes, and outdoor areas.
You can use these tips to eliminate skunk smell from your space and ensure that you have fresh air:
How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell on a Pet
A skunk can spray your pet if it’s startled. If your pet has just gotten sprayed, ensure that its eyes aren’t affected. It’s best to seek a vet’s attention if your pet’s eyes look irritated and they seem uncomfortable.
Additionally, ensure that the pet touches as few indoor surfaces as possible and then follow this procedure to remove the skunk smell:
What You Need
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Baking soda
- Dishwashing soap
- Rubber gloves
- Mix 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and two teaspoons dishwashing soap.
- Wear rubber gloves and wash your pet’s entire body using the solution. However, be sure to keep the solution away from your pet’s eyes.
- Rinse the pot thoroughly to remove the solution.
- You can use a skunk-odor-eliminating shampoo if you have one at home.
Ensure that you don’t store this solution in a closed container because it might build pressure and eventually explode. Instead, it’s advisable to dilute with water and pour it down the drain when finished. Also, please do not leave the hydrogen peroxide on your pet for more than five minutes because it can lighten their fur color.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell on Clothes and Furniture
You can eliminate the skunk smell from most clothing and fabrics by washing them with a regular laundry detergent mixed with ½ cup baking soda in hot water, and then air dry the clothes.
Air drying might be more effective than machine drying because a dryer might bake in the smell if it’s not eliminated during washing.
Repeat the process until you eliminate the smell.
Delicate fabrics might not survive rigorous washing in the machine. Therefore, you can try soaking them in laundry detergent and baking soda solution for at least thirty minutes.
You can steam clean, soft surfaces such as couches or carpets that can’t be washed in a machine or by hand.
How to Get Skunk Smell Out of the House
Depending on its intensity, skunk odor can linger in your house for several days or weeks. You can follow these tips to eliminate the smell from your home:
- Open all the windows to let sunlight in as possible to oxidize the odor and shorten its lifespan. You can also run the fun in your central heating or AC system to circulate air.
- Boil a pot of white vinegar for at least an hour, replenishing it as the vinegar evaporates. While the house will temporarily smell like vinegar, it should eliminate the skunk smell.
- Place bowls of vinegar in each room for at least three days. However, ensure they are out of reach of children and pets. You can also pour the vinegar into inexpensive plastic containers and punch holes in the lids. The vinegar will eventually absorb and neutralize the odor.
- If there are any hard surfaces, a 1:9 mixture of bleach and water will help remove the smell. It’s best to test a small area first to ensure that bleach doesn’t damage or discolor the surface.
When you’re done eliminating skunk odor from your home, be sure to change the air filters in your HVAC system to prevent the odors from hanging around.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in the Yard
Skunk spray can travel up to ten feet and settle into the porous surfaces of wooden decks, playsets, or natural stone walkways. However, you can eliminate skunk smell from your yard by following these steps:
- Mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water. Ensure that you test the resultant solution in an inconspicuous area before proceeding.
- Work in small areas, and use a mop, cloth, or sponge to wash the solution’s surface.
- Rinse each section with fresh water immediately after scrubbing. Ensure the solution doesn’t sit for more than five minutes because bleach can discolor the surface.
Do not use bleach and water solution in a pressure washer because the overspray can bleach plants or other unintended items.
Check this too: How to Get Rid Of Mouse Urine Smell in the Garage
Getting Rid of Skunk Smell From Your Car
Driving a car reeking of skunk smell can be pretty uncomfortable. Here is how you can get the smell out of your vehicle:
- Open the windows and let the sunshine on the upholstery.
- Use a 1:9 solution of bleach and water or a solution of hydrogen peroxide, water, and baby shampoo to wash down the car’s interior, including the seats and carpet. You can do a patch test first to ensure that the solution doesn’t lighten the fabric.
- You can also opt to place bowls of vinegar in the back and front seat for several days to eliminate the smell. You can also use charcoal instead of vinegar.
- Hose down the car’s exterior and tires.
- If the smell persists, you can use a commercial product in your car’s interior.
Skunks can be so annoying because they can make off with some of your best products during the night. Additionally, the smell of their spray is quite pungent and can cause certain physical reactions such as watery eyes, a runny nose, and nausea.
You can use the above tips to eliminate skunks and their smell from your space.