Skunks are often non-aggressive and can benefit the area they inhabit. However, they can become a nuisance quickly. If they decide to make a den and have babies on your property, you might only want to think about how to get rid of skunks under deck, shed, or house before you (or your pets) get sprayed.
Luckily, there are many ways to convince skunks to leave your home naturally and humanely. The best option is to make an uninhabitable area by covering prime den locations and deterring the animals with smells like mothballs, pepper, ammonia, urine, or spray repellents.
In this article, we’ll show you the many techniques you can use to get rid of skunks – no matter what part of your home they took over.
- Are Skunks Dangerous?
- What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of Skunks?
- How To Get Rid Of Skunks Under Deck, Shed, Porch, or House
- 1. Install a Wire Mesh Fence
- 2. Sprinkle Kitty Litter Nearby
- 3. Use Cotton Balls Soaked in Ammonia
- 4. Try Apple Cider Vinegar in a Plastic Bag
- 5. Install Motion-Activated Sprinklers
- 6. Add Mothballs to Your Yard
- 7. Install Predator Deterrent Lights
- 8. Use an Ultrasonic Skunk Repellent
- 9. Spread Predator Urine
- 10. Utilize the Power of Spicy Spray
- 11. Try Pepper Spray
- 12. Scatter Citrus Peels
- 13. Get a Cat or Dog
- 14. Catch and Relocate
- 15. Call a Professional
- How to Get Rid of Skunks with Repellents
- Where Do Skunks Live?
- What to Do If You Find a Skunk Den?
- What to Do If a Skunk Sprays You?
Are Skunks Dangerous?
Skunks are not dangerous creatures. They’re typically non-aggressive. However, they are one of the four wild animals that primarily carry the rabies virus. A rabid skunk may circle, stagger, have paralyzed limbs, or seem aggressive. If you see a rabid skunk, call your local animal control or wildlife rehabilitator for help.
What’s the Best Way to Get Rid of Skunks?
The best way to remove skunks from your property depends on where they are and how you want to deal with them. For example, you may have an unrestricted budget to purchase repellants or be able to deter the animals without spending a penny.
For starters, make sure to:
- Remove food sources
- Cover the trash bin
- Keep your yard well-lit
- Cover all window wells
- Avoid overwatering your lawn
- Never leave pet food outside at night
Skunks are opportunists, so don’t leave anything out at night that could attract them. You can also prevent them from coming near your house by securing your garbage, covering openings, feeding your pets indoors, and securing all outbuildings.
Finally, skunks enjoy digging for grubs in an overwatered yard. This happens because the wet soil conditions push the grubs closer to the surface. Keeping your lawn maintained and not too wet could deter a skunk encounter.
How To Get Rid Of Skunks Under Deck, Shed, Porch, or House
Opportunist animals, skunks often create dens in locations that are easily accessible. In addition to closing off these areas, you can use natural, humane ways to get rid of skunks for good. The following list includes the many options to repel skunks from your property.
1. Install a Wire Mesh FenceSkunks like to make openings under concrete slabs, porches, and crawl spaces home. You might hear them scurrying under the deck. However, you can close off hiding places that may seem appealing. Install an underground wire mesh fence or wood panels around the deck, shed, or under the house. Fill any gaps or spaces skunks might enter.
You can also use fencing, sheet metal, concrete, chicken wire, or wood.
2. Sprinkle Kitty Litter Nearby
Kitty litter is a mild repellent that you can place near and inside a skunk den to force them out. Make sure to place the kitty litter on a single side of the den to allow the animal to pass and leave the area.
When the skunks are gone, fill the hole with leaves or place a wire fence in front to keep them from returning.
3. Use Cotton Balls Soaked in AmmoniaAmmonia has a harsh smell that deters skunks.
Douse rags or cotton balls in ammonia, and place them next to the den’s entrance or under your porch to keep skunks from denning.
If you find the smell too harsh, try placing the rags or cotton balls in a plastic bag first.
4. Try Apple Cider Vinegar in a Plastic BagSimilar to the ammonia method, apple cider vinegar also produces a strong odor that repels skunks. Soak rags or cotton balls in apple cider vinegar and place them in a plastic bag. Set the bag under a porch or shed, or set it near a den entrance to keep skunks from returning.
5. Install Motion-Activated SprinklersA motion-activated sprinkler is designed to turn on automatically. Similarly, critter sprinklers come on when an animal wanders too close. Using a critter sprinkler is a safe way to keep skunks from your property. Simply place them near areas you think skunks may want to den.
The Hoony Cobra Motion Activated Water Blaster is a natural method for repelling rodents. The battery-powered unit detects animals within a 30-foot range and sprays water for five seconds when the sensor reads motion nearby. It’s utterly harmless to animals and people, and the setup is fast and easy.
6. Add Mothballs to Your Yard
Mothballs have a pungent smell that deters skunks. Scatter a handful of mothballs under a porch or deck to get them to leave, then seal off the area with wire mesh. Expect the mothball smell to fade in a few weeks.
This method also works well if skunks are in your garden, where they may hang out to feast on pollinators. However, you must keep the mothballs away from children and pets.
7. Install Predator Deterrent LightsBecause skunks are nocturnal, they tend to shy away from bright lights. Installing a predator deterrent light or motion-activated light system in your yard could make the area less appealing. Solar-powered lights are an excellent energy-saving option as well.
The main downside to the lights is that you might attract insects that enjoy bright light like moths or crickets. A motion sensor that trips only when a creature gets close could help compared to leaving lights on overnight.
The Pasobass Predator Deterrent Light is a solar-powered option that won’t attract insects. The deterrent light features a red LED flash that scares nighttime animals away. It’s waterproof and suitable for all weather conditions. You can use it to protect your yard, crops, or livestock just about anywhere. Plus, the model is eco-friendly and saves energy.
8. Use an Ultrasonic Skunk RepellentAnother humane option is to use an ultrasonic animal repellent. They’re solar-powered tools that get rid of pests by producing ultrasonic sound, high-frequency alarms, and LED flashing lights to make the animals uncomfortable.
For example, the Diaotec Ultrasonic Animal Outdoor Repellent is an effective option that drives away animals like birds, cats, dogs, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, rabbits, boars, deer, and more. The unit sends an ultrasonic sound when it detects an animal on the infrared sensor to keep it away. Use it to keep pets from your garden or reduce the chances of denning on your property.
9. Spread Predator UrineThe urine from natural predators like foxes and dogs can deter skunks. If you have a dog, you could encourage it to urinate near the den or around your yard. You can also purchase products containing urine to spray around the perimeter.
Never purchase predator urine to deter skunks. Many of these products are made under inhumane conditions, and they do not repel skunks well.
10. Utilize the Power of Spicy Spray
You can make a homemade spicy spray to repel skunks. Most people make a solution with cayenne pepper, jalapeno, or Tabasco sauce and spray it on plants or around the perimeter to tell pests to steer clear.
An easy-to-make recipe is to boil chopped yellow onion and chopped jalapeno with a tablespoon of cayenne pepper and two quarts of water. After 20 minutes, strain the solution and place it in a spray bottle. The mixture lasts up to five days.
11. Try Pepper SprayA pepper spray is another effective repellent you can spray around your yard, the den, or trees. Sprays with pepper repel skunks and other wild creatures like squirrels. You can also use them anywhere you see a skunk.
Make a homemade pepper spray with water and black pepper. Put the solution in any spray bottle to apply it to plants or your yard. The smell is ideal for keeping skunks away from your garden. However, spicy sprays tend to work better.
12. Scatter Citrus Peels
Citrus is a natural repellent for skunks and many other animals. You can scatter citrus peels like lemon or orange under a deck or porch. You could also cut up the peels and spread them around your property.
13. Get a Cat or Dog
The smell of another animal, like a cat or dog, could deter pests from your property. However, many skunks are used to living among people and other animals. This method does not work well if you live in the city, where many skunks rely on their stinky spray to avoid harassment.
14. Catch and RelocateIf you live in a location where live trapping is legal, consider setting a spring-loaded trap to lure a skunk away from your home. You can set a large cage trap in an open area using cat food, peanut butter, marshmallows, or canned sardines as bait, then relocate the skunk at least 10 miles away from the capture site. Check the trap every 24 hours.
However, live trapping is illegal in many states. Contact the local wildlife department if you’re not sure about the laws where you live. Trapping the skunk also opens you up to the possibility of getting sprayed or bit.
The Animal Trap for Racoons is also ideal for skunks. The trap has a spring-loaded metal door that closes after the animal enters. To prevent injuries, the inside of the cage features smooth edges. The trap even comes fully assembled and ready to use, allowing you to relocate nuisance animals fast.
15. Call a Professional
If the problem is severe or you have a possibly rabid skunk on your hands, consider calling a wildlife control professional. However, make sure to vet the company thoroughly. Some professionals kill skunks by injecting them with chemical solvents like acetone, which causes a painful and inhumane death. There are many ways to avoid causing extreme suffering.
How to Get Rid of Skunks with Repellents
Mild repellents are another effective skunk deterrence. Commercial or homemade capsaicin or castor oil repellents are the best. For a stronger option, look for powerful capsaicin-based “hot sauces.” These products are often unnecessary because getting skunks to leave is not that complicated.
But if you need a more robust treatment, proceed with extreme caution. Capsaicin has consequences for any people or animals that come into contact with it. Follow the directions carefully.
Finally, you can use store-bought chemical repellents. Place the chemicals around the edges of your yard or near a den, and re-apply them every few days. The skunks should move away in a couple of days.
Best Chemical RepellentsThe Natural Armor Animal and Rodent Repellent Spray is ideal for pests like skunks, mice, raccoons, rats, deer, and other rodents or critters. The powerful peppermint formula is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. You can spray it anywhere skunks may hang out, such as your basement, crawlspace, lawn, plants, trees, sheds, garages, and trash cans.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle Safer Animal Repellent Granules, a dual-action mixture of black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin oils. The granules are long-lasting for up to 30 days of protection, and it repels other animals like groundhogs, cats, dogs, raccoons, and chipmunks.
Where Do Skunks Live?
Skunks are easy to identify by their black and white stripes and a faint, musky odor. You’re more likely to smell the skunk before you see it. For example, a skunk may be living at your home if the smell is persistent and coming from under a building or woodpile. You may also notice shallow holes in your lawn where the skunks forage for grubs or plants knocked over.
The animals also look for convenient locations for their den, such as rock or woodpiles, elevated sheds, crawl spaces, garages, and openings under concrete slabs. Often, skunks wander into the area and back out at dusk. For example, closing a garage door when the animal wanders out could solve your skunk problem.
What to Do If You Find a Skunk Den?
According to the Humane Society, skunks are beneficial to the areas they inhabit because they eat neighborhood pests like insects and rodents. But they may seek shelter under your deck, shed, or home during winter or when they’re raising young. If you have to evict them from your home, mild harassment and deterrence usually do the trick.
Because skunks are nocturnal and non-aggressive, you could leave them alone until they easily move of their own accord. It’s also humane to leave a skunk den alone in the winter because the animals cannot dig a new den when the ground is frozen. You may want to wait until warm weather to evict skunks, especially if newborns are involved.
A den with newborn skunks is best left alone until the babies are old enough. In this case, you would wait until the babies can follow the mom skunk out of the den for forage, then start filling the hole to deter them from re-entering. If you can’t wait, contact a professional for help. Skunks can become threatening if you mess with their young.
Alternatively, you can encourage skunks to leave by filling the hole with soil, leaves, paper, straw, or a similar material. Mild harassment like loosely packing the den hole with leaves can get skunks to relocate and keep them from coming back. However, you don’t want to plug the den when the skunks (or newborns) are inside.
If the plug remains in place for a few nights, you can assume the den is unoccupied and safe to fill. It would help if you also used exclusion techniques to prevent denning before skunks have the opportunity to move in.
What to Do If a Skunk Sprays You?
Skunks are infamous for spraying a foul odor when they’re frightened. The spray causes intense discomfort, particularly if it gets in your eyes. However, skunks are mild-mannered and rarely utilize this defense mechanism unless their young are threatened or cannot escape. For this reason, it’s important not to make a skunk feel cornered.
If a skunk sprays you, a tomato juice bath is a traditional remedy for removing the odor. The bath reduces the stench. It’s also safe for cats and dogs. Wearing gloves, mix:
- 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide (3%, available at any pharmacy)
- ¼ cup of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap
Wear the gloves and scrub with the solution immediately after the spraying takes place. Rinse thoroughly. Avoid getting the tomato juice bath in your eyes. Do not store any leftover mixture in a bottle, or it may explode. You can also use equal parts of water and vinegar instead of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dishwashing soap.
Skunks provide ample warning that they are about to spray you. They may:
- Stamp their front feet
- Raise the tail
- Short forward charge
- Twist their hind end in your direction
Some skunks will even contrast into a handstand with their eyes fixed on you to spray into the air. If you notice any warning signs, move away slowly and remain quiet. Dogs may ignore the warning signs, so you might need to restrain your pet from the area.
The best option to get rid of skunks is to make the habitat uncomfortable with a repellent and keep them from returning with fencing or structural alterations to close the opening. You can also purchase bright LED lights or electronic repellent systems to keep animals from your yard. However, you may want to call a professional for help with challenging situations.
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