How to Keep Skunks Away
Skunks usually breed in the spring, from February to May. A second mating may occur later, if the skunk did not find a mate or fails to impregnate. Young are usually born between May and June, with the average litter being five to eight babies. Young are weaned at eight weeks and typically stay with the mother until they are 2-4 months old. Some juveniles will stay with their mothers or siblings until the following spring. Skunks are usually nocturnal, coming out well after dark.
- Cayenne pepper
- Repel® Granules - A commercial dog and cat repellant, available at most pet stores or garden centers. The active ingredient is nonyl methyl ketone. Some other brands are Boundary® and Dog-Gone®.
- Hot Pepper Repellant Recipe
- One chopped yellow onion
- One chopped Jalapeno pepper
- One tablespoon of Cayenne Pepper
- Boil ingredients for 20 minutes in two quarts of water. Then let it cool and strain the mixture through cheesecloth. You can apply this with a pesticide sprayer or a spray bottle. This will deter just about any animal from an area where it is applied. The only draw back is that it only lasts for three to five days.
Scarecrow® by Contech is a motion-activated sprinkler. It works great for keeping most animals out of yards or large areas. For more information, visit Contech http://www.scatmat.com or call at 1-800-767-8658.
Skunks on the Premises
- Be sure to eliminate all food sources such as pet foods, birdseed, etc. If your pets must be fed outside, then remove all food at night.
- Use metal or heavy plastic trash containers. Keep the lids securely fastened to prevent odors from escaping. If needed, secure lids with bungee cords, ropes, etc. that have been soaked in Tabasco sauce® or the commercial repellant, Ropel®, available at garden, hardware, pet or feed stores. If they still get in, you can pour about one cup of ammonia in the trash can every week, after the trash has been picked up. Rubbermaid® makes a trash can with a screw on the lid. You should always try to store trash in a garage or a shed.
- Keep BBQ grills clean or stored in a secure place.
- Light the area with flood lights or motion detector lights. Motion detector lights usually work the best.
Skunks Under a Porch or Cement Slab
- Use the Hot Pepper Recipe as the first method of action.
- Spray the repellant all around the den area. Also, spray around the entry and just a few inches into the hole. Don't spray deep into the hole or the skunk may reciprocate.
- The next day, cover the entry. Wadded up newspaper stuffed into the entry hole works great, or if there is dirt around the entry you can cover the entry area with loose dirt. Do not pack the dirt down as that may trap the skunk under the porch or cement slab.
- Roll rags into a tight ball and tie with twine. These should be the size of a tennis ball or smaller. Soak these in ammonia until thoroughly saturated.
- Using a piece of stiff wire, such as an opened clothes hanger, put the rag balls into the burrow as far as you can and cover the hole lightly with dirt or wadded newspaper.
- Observe the hole for a few days. Re-cover the hole whenever you see it open. When the hole has not been uncovered for a few days, the skunk is out. If, after four days, the skunk has not moved, then on the fifth day, repeat the process from the beginning, including new rags and ammonia. The skunk will usually move out on the first or the second night.
- Once the skunk is gone, skunk-proof the area to prevent reoccurrence. In areas where there is too much open space for ammonia to be effective, like crawl spaces or under wood floorings, then construct a one-way door.
- Use only if ammonia rags don't work. If the skunk is in a crawl space or under wood flooring there may be too much open air space for the ammonia rags to work.
- You can purchase a one-way door, made by Tomahawk Trap Co., available from ACES. Their phone number is 1-800-338-ACES or visit Tomahawk Live Trap's website at http://www.livetrap.com.
- Or, construct your own one-way door, using the following directions:
How to Tell if the Skunk Is Out
- There should be some scraping or digging around the one-way door. This means that the skunk is out and can't get back in.
- Put a layer of flour on the inside and outside of the door after the one-way door has been installed for one to two nights. Any footprints in the flour should be outside the door with none inside. This means the skunk is out.
- If you have any doubt, then smooth out the dirt on both sides of the door with your hand or a tool, reapply the flour and observe. Once a couple of days have gone by with no footprints, the skunk is probably gone.
- Another way to check is to open the door and shove a few pieces of wadded up newspaper into the skunk's entrance. If the paper stays in place for two to three nights, then the skunk is gone.
Note: You may want to proof the affected area first, so once the skunk is blocked out, it won't be able to dig a new entry.
Skunks in Window Wells or Dumpsters
- Provide a ramp made of a rough surface. You made need to staple, nail or duct tape a heavy piece of cloth so that the animal can get a good grip.
- Place the ramp at an angle, so that the animal can crawl out.
- Use a net with at least a 5' pole. Slowly, scoop out the skunk. Gently lay the net on the ground so that the skunk can crawl out.
- Tie a piece of rope to a bucket or pail, then place a small amount of cheese, dried cat or dog food in the bucket. Using the rope, lower the bucket into the window well and lay it on its side. When the skunk goes into the bucket, slowly stand the bucket up, lift it out, and place it on the ground. Immediately back up slowly until you are about 10-15 feet away. Then, use the rope to gently pull the bucket over.
Skunks Under Mobile Homes or Trailers
- Remove one panel of skirting from each corner; this usually works if the skunk is living above the ground or in articles stored under the trailer.
- If this does not work, then the skunk has probably burrowed underground and most likely, under a concrete slab beneath the trailer. In this case, keep the corner skirts off and try the ammonia methods outlined under, Skunks under a Porch or Cement Slab.
Note: Be sure to skunk proof once they are gone.
Skunks Coming Through Pet Doors
- Mount floodlights or motion detector lights above the pet door.
- Lock and secure the pet door at night.
- Place a piece of plywood or cardboard outside of the pet door; sprinkle a liberal amount of Cayenne pepper or Repel® granules. Be sure to lock the pet door that night and remember to do so for several nights. During the day, you can remove the repellant so that your pets can use the door. Usually, after a couple of visits, the skunk will stay away from the pet door. The easiest method is to simply lock your pet door every night at sunset. Usually, after just a few nights, the skunks will stop coming to your pet door. Once the skunk realizes that he can't access your pet door for food, he will not want to waste time or energy coming to your house.
Note: If you live in skunk habitat, a pet door for dogs or cats is not a good idea. If the skunks discover it, they will use it to come into your home in search of food. Not only will wildlife use them, but also small humans can enter them and what they take will be more valuable than what the wildlife wants.
Skunks Under Sheds or Barns
- Use the Hot Pepper Recipe all around and under the edges of the shed.
- Often there is too much airspace under sheds or barns for ammonia alone to be effective.
- Try the ammonia method outlined under: Skunks under a porch or cement slab.
- Place a radio tuned to a talk station in the shed or barn. If you know where the skunk is located under the barn or shed, place the radio as close to it as possible.
- Any human activity in the barn or shed will also discourage the skunk from staying there because it will not feel safe.
Remove Skunk Odor From Room or Clothes
- Use, available from Vigon International - you may contact them via their website at http://www.vigoninternational.com, or by calling them at 1-877-VIGON-39. Neutroleum Alpha
- Place Peppermint or Spearmint Oil on cotton balls or mix with water in a water bottle and use as a spray.
Remove Skunk Odor From Human Skin or Pets
- For pets that have been sprayed, bathe the animal in a mixture of one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (from a drug store), 1/4 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and a teaspoon of liquid detergent. After five minutes, rinse the animal with water. Repeat if necessary. The mixture must be used after mixing and will not work if it is stored for any length of time. This mixture may bleach the pet's hair. Caution:
- Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover®, available from veterinarians or pet supply stores.
- Massengill® douche, it's the cheapest and the easiest to find. (Stop Laughing!)
- Vinegar and water will also work. Vinegar is an acid which breaks down the alkaloid skunk spray.
Note: Avoid eye contact when using any of these methods.
For use around concrete slabs, patios, steps or sun decks.
- Dig a trench around patio or deck 1' wide x 1' deep.
- For concrete slabs, purchase 1"x 2" welded wire fencing (available at hardware stores) to go around the concrete slab. Try to get welded wire that is 2 feet wide. Bend the welded wire into an "L" shape and lay it in the trench so that the wire goes 1 foot down and 1 foot away from the patio. Then fill in the trench.
- For sun decks, purchase 1"x 2" welded wire fencing, get it in a 3 or 4-foot width, depending on how high the deck is above the ground. Measure the distance from the bottom of the frame of the deck to the bottom of the trench that you have dug. Measure out that same distance on your welded wire and at that point, bend the welded wire at a right angle ("L" shaped). Be sure that the "L" shaped part is 1 foot wide and trim off the excess if it is wider. Place the welded wire into the trench. Attach the wire to the bottom of the deck and fill the trench in.
Skunks can really stink up your day. Just follow this advice and your nostrils won't be assaulted by these stinkers.
Reprinted with permission by Urban Wildlife Rescue.