How to get rid of Skunks

skunks how to get rid of

Skunks are medium-sized omnivorous mammals, native to and widespread in North, Central, and South America. They are especially noticeable and known for their ability to spray a liquid with a strong, unpleasant scent from their anal glands – as a defence. Skunks that live in anthropogenic environments often break into homes in search of food. Therefore, when we refer to skunks it is important to first apply measures for keeping them at a distance and if it’s necessary use traps for safely capturing them and freeing them.

skunks how to get rid of

Signs of skunk presence

First, identify the areas skunks frequent, and the type of damage they cause then choose an optimal method for their removal and elimination. 

Examples of the damages skunk can cause to a certain property:

– Small holes in the lawn because of their digging for larvae and insects;
– Garbage scattering;
– Consumption of various fruits;
– Building shelters under porches / in the warehouse;
– Attacking the bird’s shelter.

Examples of measures that can be applied:

– Leaf or grass raking that may contain seeds or other food;
– Closing the access to sheds, barns and bird shelters;
– Identifying abandoned burrows on the property/yard and filling them with gravel.
– Storing garbage in airtight containers.
– Removing piles of wood/garbage or other plant debris from the space that the skunk may use as a shelter.  

Therefore, after observing the habits of the skunk and identifying their presence in a specific area where they caused damage, it is recommended to choose the appropriate method, depending on the situation. In order for their removal to have a high degree of efficiency, it is best to use multiple methods (repellents, traps). The choice of the appropriate method is also influenced by the number of skunk populations in the respective perimeter. 

How to use skunk traps

Because they are known for their ability to spray a liquid with a strong, unpleasant smell from their anal glands when they feel threatened, there is a certain reluctance to choose this method to remove an unwanted skunk from a property. However, it is one of the best ways to get rid of them in a safe and efficient way. Thus, to avoid this inconvenience, a series of measures can be taken, respectively:

– Protect your body as you approach the trap by using a larger towel or sheet.
– After capturing the skunk, it is best to approach slowly and quietly, to avoid scaring him. Also, as soon as you get closer to the trap, it is recommended you toss the sheet/towel over it because if they can’t see their target, the skunks are not so prone to attack.

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These traps are reusable and they are specially designed to capture skunks without injuring them. They ensure fast, safe catches, targeting the specific size of the animals, and then releasing them safely.

For the capture to be efficient, place the traps in areas where the skunks carry out their activity the most or where the most damages are present. In general, they are sheltered under various structures, in tree hollows, in burrows, etc. If you have identified the burrow of a skunk, it is recommended to place the trap at a distance of 5-10 meters from the entrance, on a straight, flat surface.

At the same time, use baits inside the trap. The skunks are attracted to meat-based foods with high oil content, such as fish or chicken. Thus, as baits, it is recommended to use canned tuna/sardines, fried bacon, meringues, bread covered with peanut butter, etc. In addition to choosing a suitable bait, an important aspect is its positioning in the trap, for an efficient capture. 

The correct placement of the bait ensures:

– The complete attraction of the skunk in the trap – both the body and the tail;
– Rapid triggering of the trap when the animal enters;
– It will be placed according to the type of trap (1 entrance or 2 entrances).

Single-entry trap:

– The bait will be placed towards its end, just behind the trigger, as far away from its walls as possible, to prevent the skunks from reaching it from the outside.

Two entrances trap:

– The bait is indicated to be placed as close as possible to its middle (centre) (as far as possible). For example, it can be placed in the ground, just below the trigger or it can cling to the top of the trap. 

In addition: 

The skunks can overturn the trap in an attempt to reach the bait, so it is advisable to place a weight or a brick on top of it.

The breeding season for skunks is spring, so it is recommended to use traps before it starts, respectively before the number of skunks in a perimeter increases and removal becomes much more difficult. 

Where to place the skunk trap:

Skunks are nocturnal animals, so it is advisable to place the trap at dusk or in the evening. If the trap is still empty the next morning, close it during the day in order to avoid catching other animals and that they are placed again in the evening. Always follow the instructions specific to the chosen trap. 

It is essential to constantly monitor the trap as the skunk can quickly become agitated/scared, and the lack of water and food can affect its health. Therefore be mindful not to keep a skunk captive for too long.

Capturing Skunks

When capturing the skunk, use protective gloves when handling the trap to protect yourself from direct contact with it. Approach the trap slowly, without making sudden movements, and cover the front of the body (from the shoulders to the feet) with a blanket/sheet (to protect you, as skunks emit a liquid with an unpleasant odour when they feel attacked). Afterwards, place the blanket easily over the trap. It is recommended that the handling of the trap is done with great care and that it be kept at the same level, and stable. Relocate the captured skunks to another area according to the legal provisions in force. 

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Using repellent products is one of the best ways to keep skunks away from the property. Therefore first identify the areas where they have caused damage and then determine the habits they have in the yard, after which choose an appropriate repellent to your needs.

In addition to the regular application of repellents, certain measures are also very important, so that the respective space does not represent a favourable environment for skunks and does not attract them in a special way. Respectively, the fallen fruits/seeds will be raked, the garbage will be stored in sealed containers, the access to the barns will be limited, to the chicken shelters, etc.

Depending on the product, repellents can come in a variety of forms. They will be applied/used in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

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They can be found in powder, granular or liquid form. They contain certain irritating substances for skunks, which have the role of removing them from the perimeter that is to be protected.

In conclusion, depending on the situation, when opting for the removal and elimination of skunks from your property, it is best to choose the optimal methods (traps, repellents), without harming them or causing them any harm. 

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