Skunks are harmless creatures, but it is best not to get too close to them. Getting too close to them you will risk getting sprayed with their noxious spray, or be bitten by a skunk that is rabid. Skunks are omnivores and they can forage and live off of human waste. They may often take up residence in yards with some natural cover or under decks where there are food, water sources and yards where there are no pets (Cats and Dogs) to challenge them. If you want to be proactive to keep skunks out of your yard or eliminate them if they’ve taken up residence in your yard, here are some tried and true tips:
- Eliminate from your yard nuts, berries, and other natural food sources. When you have trees that produce nuts, berries, crabapples, or other fruits, and the fruits have fallen to the ground clean them up by raking your yard as often as necessary.
- Grass clippings, should also be removed or sheltered if you are using them for mulch piles, since the clippings may contain seeds that skunks will feed on. If your are composting keep the compost in a special sealed can, there are plenty of internet sites explaining how to build and maintain sealed composting cans.
- With your vegetable gardens, pick ripe fruit and vegetables as soon as they are ready to be picked, to keep hungry skunks from feasting on them.
- Put a tray under your bird feeder to contain and keep seeds dropped by birds off the ground.
- Secure your garbage waste. Just like a raccoon, skunks can survive on garbage. Keep your trash cans properly sealed. You can buy locking garbage cans at a fairly cheap price at your local home improvement store.
- Seal off hiding places that the skunk may use as a habitat. Skunks like to make their homes in sheltered areas. Seal entrances to spaces that may be appeal to skunks using rocks, fencing, or plywood.
- Large bushes are habitats for skunks. If you spot a skunk hanging out in these bushes trim back the branches so it is not so appealing to them.
- Put up lights in your yard, skunks are nocturnal and they will turn away from bright lighted areas. You might want to use motion sensors to turn on lights.
- There are chemical products that repel skunks. These chemicals have to be reapplied every few days. Fox and dog urine deters skunks for example. Collect dog urine if you can or buy products containing fox or dog urine at hardware or home stores. Spray it around the edges or borders of your yard.
- Pepper sprays, citrus peels and ammonia soaked rags also repel skunks. Spray it or place it on trees and other bushes/areas where you’ve seen skunks.
- Set a trap that has a spring-loaded door with bait inside. The skunk may be carried away from your property and turned loose in the woods or another open, wild area. Use peanut butter, canned sardines, cat food, or another strong-smelling food for bait in the trap. Set it close to the skunk’s den or its normal route of access to your property.
- Take precautions when freeing the skunk from the trap. Wear heavy clothes and gloves, and make sure your face is positioned well away from the door where the skunk will exit the trap. Most of the time, skunks leave traps calmly, but you should take precautions just in case you get sprayed.
If you feel you cannot remove the skunk yourself you can hire a skunk removal professional.