Skunks are famous for their foul-smelling spray and distinctive white stripe. But did you know that they are also omnivorous, and dig dens? (Sometimes they’ll do this under your home, deck, or shed, which can cause structural problems and damage pipes).

If you’re looking to ward off or remove a skunk making its home on your property, there are a few methods you can use, including eliminating food and shelter, trapping, and repellents.

First, find out if it’s just the one skunk inspecting the suitability of your home, or if it has already made a den and has a litter. If it’s settled in with kits, you will want to call for professional help.

MAKE YOUR HOME LESS INVITING

If the skunk is still scouting the area, you may be able to deter it from staying.

  • Don’t leave any pet food out.
  • If you have veggies in your garden, put wire fencing around it (make sure that the wire goes at least a foot underground).
  • Keep your garbage sealed with a tight lid; skunks will tear through any bags.
  • Install L-footers around the base of your building and fence.
  • Keep your grass short; this will minimize the number of insects there are for the skunk to eat.
  • If you have chickens, make sure that they have a skunk-proof coop. Skunks will go after the eggs.

SKUNK REPELLENTS

Repellents have varying degrees of effectiveness, so combine them with the other deterrent methods listed above. They also wear off and require regular reapplication, especially after rain.

The most effective repellents include:

  • ammonia (soak some cloth in it and lay them around)
  • predator urine
  • repellent products containing capsaicin (extracted from hot peppers)

Apply these to your yard’s perimeter, any areas the skunk frequents, and the mouth of its den.

TRAPPING SKUNKS

If you can’t deter the skunks using other means, you might have to trap them. However, you should always consult your local state laws first. 

  • Lethal traps are indiscriminate and will kill whatever they catch. You’ll also have to dispose of the carcass, and skunks smell even worse when dead.
  • Live traps allow you to relocate the animal. Cover the trap with a tarp; if the skunk can’t see you, it can’t spray you. If it does spray, the scent will hit the tarp instead.
The best baits to use are those with strong scents, though marshmallows also work well.
  • Sardines
  • Bacon
  • Canned tuna
  • Peanut butter
  • Insect larvae
Here’s how and where you should set the trap:
  1. Wash the trap first to remove the human scent, and use gloves when setting it. 
  2. Set the trap near their den, or areas they frequent. Skunks are nocturnal, so set the trap in the evening and check it early in the morning.

Once you’ve caught the skunk, you’ll need to relocate it or call a wildlife control agency to take it for you. Check your state regulations before releasing the skunk.

Once you get rid of the skunks, be sure to protect your yard to prevent them from returning or another skunk taking their place.