Skunk Under My House

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Old 09-29-20, 08:16 AM
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Skunk Under My House

This is a 1902 house with a stacked field stone foundation. There is scant mortar since it must have been expensive a century ago. We have a photo of a skunk entering one of several openings that have been excavated under an attached deck that gives access to the foundation wall. I found a new hole dug under the foundation on the basement side, so pretty sure this guy has found a new home.

I can fill the access holes with concrete, but am concerned about trapping the skunk under there. Any suggestions out there or should I just start with a pest control pro?
 
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10-01-20, 06:55 AM
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Debrief

The skunk is gone. It was in the trap before I went to bed yesterday. I got up at daybreak and transported it outside of town. She had knocked one of my cardboard ends off the cage, so I kept the whole thing draped in towels for the ride. My trap is decades old and the door has to be held open, so I was a little concerned on the release, but she left pretty uneventfully. My hack job of cardboard and masking tape got the job done, but if I had to do it again, I would do something a little more substantial. Thanks for all the help!!!!!
 
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Old 09-29-20, 08:22 AM
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And they are going to set a live trap so if your brave enough go for it!
 
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Old 09-29-20, 09:08 AM
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Not a pest control person but I have trapped skunks on a couple of occasions and have not gotten sprayed. Use a have a Hart type live trap. Bait it with chicken pieces and place it away from your house. Put the trap out at night - skunks are primarily nocturnal.

Here is the important part - cover the trap except for the entrance. A skunk won't spray inside such a small covered space. You can use hardware cloth to cover the openings until you can fill them with mortar.
 
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Old 09-29-20, 01:13 PM
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Pet food is a good bait to use, too. Cover the trap with a tarp or something ahead of time. I've known of trappers to also cut cardboard to cover exterior and run tape around it. Important: If trapping on anything other than a solid surface, put a board or equivalent underneath the trap as the skunk will spend all night reaching through the mesh and pulling up the grass, dirt, roots into the bottom of the trap. I've seen it almost "knit" the trap to the grass. At the least, it makes it considerably heavier. You don't want any more complications than necessary in this operation.

The skunks are generally docile when trapped, unless a dog is bothering it or kids are throwing stones at it. Keep control of the situation in that respect. The only time I got sprayed was when I caught a skunk in a mesh trap with no covering; I got close and threw the tarp over it. The looming figure of the tarp scared it. It was my fault all the way. I've removed skunks and open mesh traps from customers who were trapping ground hogs but got a skunk at night because they didn't close the traps after dark. Approached from the closed door side with a tarp slowly, talking to it nicely, and slowly pull the tarp over it. I've even done trap transfers in this way so that I didn't have to make a return trip to bring the customers trap back. This is why you want to cover the trap ahead of time. Hopefully you have a truck to haul him away in; I still wouldn't put it in the trunk. Something will surely go wrong.
 
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Old 09-30-20, 07:00 AM
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Thanks All

As usual, great ideas on this forum. I have two of the live traps that were recommended. I just need to muster the courage to act. I cannot get a good recommendation for a commercial pest controller here in Boulder, so I guess I'll try diy. I did call my exterminator who treated carpenter ants last year . They did not have a recommendation, but commented that mine was the 7th skunk call this week. Must have been a good summer for the little devils.
 
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Old 09-30-20, 07:04 AM
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In the old house I lived in with mom and dad there was a skunk den under the back porch. Very rarely would we get whiff of them. Well the back porch was where mom would hang cloths to dry and she was crippled so very slow. After moving out for college and then to work in NJ she would sent pictures of those skunks right next to her getting some of the cat food she kept out. She was never sprayed and considered them pets.

Funny but in her final years her hair started to turn gray, but just a stripe from forehead to back. She said they infected her.

I do have pictures somewhere.

Bud
 
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Old 09-30-20, 10:23 AM
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Smile Last Question

I have enclosed 5 sides of my live trap with corrugated, so hope it wont spray while trapped. However, when releasing, will it spray me on the way out? I certainly will stand behind the trap while opening the door. I do have a truck to haul it away.

Note to Bud: That is a heart warming story about your mom and the skunks, but I don't want to set a precedent here. We already have mice and rats. The risk of it spraying under the house is low, but the damage would be catastrophic.
 
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Old 09-30-20, 01:06 PM
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Wait a couple of minutes after you put the trap on the ground. Keep the front of the trap covered until you are ready to release. Then, just lift the cover, open the door and walk away.
 
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Old 09-30-20, 03:27 PM
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They don't like their own spray so when enclosed they tend to not spray unless panicked. If they spray inside or near their burrow, they often times leave as they don't like it. Skunks, when not spraying, are as odorless as cats.

Important:
when you open the trap door put a stick under the door to prop it up, otherwise they may set off the trap again. You could also roll the trap on it's side with the door open and that will prevent the trap from springing shut.

When you open the trap to release the skunk, slowly peel back the cover or remove the corrugation, at least a piece, to expose the skunk. Otherwise, it will stay in there until dark. It wants to go to the darkest areas. Move slowly and deliberately; kind of like the bomb squad does.
 
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Old 09-30-20, 06:33 PM
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I'm certainly no expert when it comes to skunks, but I had at least one skunk under an old barn last year. Its sprayed one of my dogs twice, but not too bad because she "give it a talking to" from a distance but not quite far enough.
I got a box of moth balls & threw about 20 or so of them under the barn. Never seen the skunk again.

Maybe PAbugman can elaborate on that.
 
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Old 10-01-20, 06:06 AM
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In the case of skunks, there is a possibility that moth balls in a confined space, could deter skunks as they don't like odors. As I said earlier, when they spray nearby or in their burrows, under sheds, etc they will leave. They are an odorless animal otherwise. Another possibility is being "harassed" out of the area such as the presence of dogs, barking or otherwise, that the skunk didn't realize was there when it "moved in". Skunks don't always stay in one place anyway; searching for a mate, food, secure shelter are some factors that cause/effect movement of any animal. Skunks are passive animals. The same factors that may chase them away wouldn't phase a ground hog, squirrel, opossum, etc.
 
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Old 10-01-20, 06:55 AM
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Debrief

The skunk is gone. It was in the trap before I went to bed yesterday. I got up at daybreak and transported it outside of town. She had knocked one of my cardboard ends off the cage, so I kept the whole thing draped in towels for the ride. My trap is decades old and the door has to be held open, so I was a little concerned on the release, but she left pretty uneventfully. My hack job of cardboard and masking tape got the job done, but if I had to do it again, I would do something a little more substantial. Thanks for all the help!!!!!
 
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Old 10-01-20, 07:52 AM
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I live in a suburb close to the city and have an extensive woodland garden landscape. This year I have been trapping rabbits that want to live under my deck and eat perennials. The space between the deck skirt and the ground is blocked with chicken wire, etc. but there is one area that animals keep getting into. I set up a Hav-a-hart trap there and catch them either coming or going. So far seven or eight rabbits, a baby raccoon (twice) and six or seven squirrels and a skunk have been caught. The rabbits and the raccoon (the second time) were dispatched, the others were released.

It was in the trap before I went to bed yesterday
One evening there was a rabbit caught in the trap and I left it there to deal with in the morning. The next morning the trap was moved and overturned and the rabbit was gone. One ear and some bits of fur is all that remained. On two additional mornings there were similar discoveries. I think there is a fox in the neighborhood that is helping me.

On the morning when the skunk was in the trap I just covered the trap slowly with a cloth and carefully propped open the outer door of the trap. Sometime during the day the skunk left.
 
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Old 10-01-20, 04:16 PM
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PAbugman , thanks for the reply to my post. As always your expertise is appreciated & valued. I learned some things that hopefully I will remember in the future if needed in case of another skunk issue.
 
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