Of all the unwanted creatures which may potentially inhabit your yard, skunks are probably somewhere on top of the list. Not only do skunks emit a very musky and unpleasant odor for which they are well known, but they also will ruin your yard by randomly digging narrow skunk holes all over the place – and perhaps even do a little digging beneath your shed and your house. How to get rid of skunks may be one of the most important things for a homeowner to know.
What are skunks doing in my yard?
Skunks feed on grubs, small insects, and even on left-over food in the garbage bin. In fact, these nocturnal scavengers will feed on almost anything. Unlike some other critters, skunks are not picky about what they eat. So, if you have fruit-bearing plants , a composting pit or even a couple of loosely-covered garbage bins behind your house, then your yard is likely target for skunks.
So, what do I do get rid of them and prevent them from entering my lawn?
- Start by cutting off their food source. If they can’t eat anything in your yard, they will look elsewhere. The easiest and most convenient food source is the dumpster. Always keep your garbage bins tightly closed and the same goes for outdoor pet food containers.
- If you have a compost pit in your yard, always keep it clean and dry. This will prevent maggots, grubs and larvae from thriving in the pit and thus make it less likely skunks will be attracted to it. If you have a raised wooden compost pile, keep it covered. Even if you do not have a composting pit, keep your yard free of debris which skunks may use to make their den.
- Bury chicken wire 6 to12 inches deep beneath your fence. Skunks may not be very good at climbing fences, but they are efficient in digging under fencing. The chicken wire makes it tough for a skunk to burrow a tunnel under your fence, forcing it to find another spot to make its den .
- Set up oscillating sprinklers with motion detectors combined with bright lights. This will deter not only skunks but also other nocturnal critters from invading your lawn at night.
- Fix gaps and broken boards on your deck and around your shed. A skunk can squeeze through tight spots as narrow as 4 inches so board up gaps beneath your deck, patio or shed. Fill up any hollow areas beneath floor boards and narrow openings in your picket fences to 2-3 inches. This will prevent them from gaining access to your property, as well as prevent them from digging up holes for their dens.
- Sprinkle some small animal repellent, like Shake-Away Skunk Repellent, in and around the areas skunks are entering your yard or finding food sources. The scent of coyote urine from these repellents will trigger the skunk’s instinctive fear response, causing them to avoid your yard at all costs.
If All Else Fails, Set Up Animal Traps
This is important if the stubborn little critter refuses all attempts in evicting him from your property. You can easily purchase small animal traps from
some hardware stores, and add some sardines or any tasty bait to lure skunks in to the trap. Strategically set the trap near a skunk hole and wait for a day or two. Patience is the key here because, as any good hunter will tell you, no wild animal will willingly waltz into a trap.
Once caught, cover the trap with a blanket. This will prevent you from being sprayed by the horrible skunk scent liquid that skunks use as self-defense when cornered. Do not attempt to set the trapped skunk free outside your property or even try to hold the skunk. Rabies is endemic to skunks and getting bitten by one is not something you would want to have happen. Call a local animal control and let them handle the disposal of the animal.
Preventing skunks from entering your lawn and keeping them away may require, depending on the location and size of your property, a combination of any of the methods provided above. Always keep in mind that for every problem there is a solution, and this holds true even when dealing with pesky and smelly little critters like skunks.