Skunks are well-known for
their odor. When threatened, or even during mating season or other
seemingly random times, they can discharge a fluid from ducts near
the anus, and spray up to 15 feet. This fluid can burn the eyes of
any threat, and of course the odor is unpleasant to nearly all
animals - humans included! It's easy to recognize skunks, as
nature has endowed them will distinctive black and white fur,
which warns "stay back!".
COMMON PROBLEMS: Skunks are common in suburban areas
throughout most of the United States. They generally live
wherever they please, without a great deal of caution. They
like to live in dens when possible, especially in colder
weather, when they will huddle together. Female skunks, of
course, want a safe place to raise young, and are protective
of the young, and will spray for protection. Thus, skunks
cause some of the following problems:
- Living under human dwelling such as a deck, porch, or
- Spraying and causing an odor in the immediate vicinity.
- Threatening or spraying a pet, usually a dog.
- Digging holes throughout the yard, in search of grubs.
- Damage to golf courses, crops, chicken coups, bee hives,
- Individual skunk fell down a window well, and is stuck.
SKUNK UNDER A SHED OR PORCH: This almost always
involves an adult female and a litter of baby skunks. The nest
of baby skunks must be found & removed, & the mother
trapped. Here are the general steps for removing skunks from
under a deck, porch, or shed..
- Step 1: Inspect the structure, and find the entry hole(s),
which are usually obvious - often of course, the whole
structure is open around the perimeter.
- Step 2: Rather than simply set traps, the best option is
to install an exclusion barrier, such as steel screen,
around the entire perimeter, while leaving just one opening
- Step 3: Install a one-way exclusion door on the opening,
or the proper sized cage traps.
- Step 4: Be sure the baby skunks are able to exit. If not,
if they are too small, they must be removed by hand.
- Step 5: Relocate the whole family together, at least 10
miles from capture site.
- Step 6: Once all the skunks are out, seal the last open
- Step 7: Clean the area, removing all feces, and spray with
GENERAL SKUNK TRAPPING: Skunk trapping is subject
to state laws regarding capture and relocation or
euthanization of wildlife. If you have unwanted skunks outside
the home, in some cases, the only fix is to trap and remove
the nuisance wildlife. We can safely, legally, and effectively
catch and remove your nuisance skunks. Trapping is an art, and
most amateur attempts go awry for a variety of reasons. An
intimate knowledge of skunk behavior, both prior to and after
trapping, and of various skunk trap types is necessary to
ensure that the skunk is trapped and removed without incident.
- STEP 1: Determine if trapping is necessary, or if there is
a preventative alternative.
- STEP 2: Select the right trap for the situation, of at
least a dozen types of skunk traps.
- STEP 3: Set the traps in the correct areas, in the shade,
camouflaged, on a flat sturdy surface, away from any
obstructions or areas that can be damaged, etc.
- STEP 4: Use the correct bait. Don't use meat-based baits,
which can attract stray cats.
- STEP 5: Monitor the trap daily, remove trapped skunks
(carefully!) and transport them.
DEODORIZATION & OTHER SERVICES: Skunk odor is
very hard to get rid of. We can fog any affected area with a
special enzyme-based cleaner that destroys any organic matter
and deodorizes the space, but it is not a 100% solution. A pet
or clothing can be treated with the following method:
- 1 quart 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- 1 teaspoon liquid soap or dish detergent
- Mix these together, and be sure to use it immediately, as
this mix is unstable.
- Bathe or shampoo the dog/cloth thoroughly.
- Let sit for five minutes and rinse with tap water
afterward, and repeat if necessary.
- For spray in the eyes, flush with water as soon as
- This is your best bet. Stuff like tomato juice, vinegar,
perfume, doesn't work very well.
The above is just a brief explanation of some of our skunk removal
and control methods. I haven't even addressed the dozens of other
potential cases that we deal with, from live skunks in a window
well, to dead skunk removal, to dealing with a sick or dangerous
skunk situation, etc. I will describe some additional skunk
information below, but just give us a call any time, and we can
describe in detail how we will resolve your specific skunk problem
in your town.
How To Get Rid of Skunk
- Tips and
steps for getting rid of skunks.
How To Trap a Skunk
- Methods for
catching skunk in cage traps.
How to Kill a Skunk
- Does poison work
to kill skunk? Is killing skunk the best approach?
- Pictures of skunk poop
and info about danger, and diseases from skunk droppings.
methods for how to keep skunk away from your property.
- Analysis of
various skunk deterrents and repellent products.
What Bait Catches Skunk
- What kind of
food do you put in a trap to catch a skunk?
Skunk Under a Shed or Deck
skunk will dig under or live under a shed or deck.
Diseases from Skunk
- Analysis of
what kinds of diseases skunk can carry and cause in humans.
Why do skunks spray?
- Learn about
this defense mechanism.
Do baby or juvenile skunks spray?
- Yes they do!
- Biology, diet, etc.
Do skunks attack pets?
- Sure! They
Should I feed a baby skunk I found?
Baby skunk removal
- A nest of
babies under the shed.
Do skunks burrow underground?
dig, but don't burrow.
Do skunks attack chickens?
City/County Skunk Removal? Not Likely.
- The county won't help for free.
Do skunks climb trees or fences?
They can't really climb well.
Damage Skunks Cause under a House
Odor problems, mostly.
Do skunks come out during the day?
Sometimes. May not be rabid.
Is it legal for me to trap a skunk?
What if a skunk got inside my house?
What are some humane ways to kill a skunk
in a cage?
Is it safe to handle a skunk with bare
How to keep Skunks out of the Garden
Do skunks fight each other?
Is skunk feces dangerous to touch or
How to Exclude Skunks without Trapping
What should I do with a skunk after I
What equipment is needed to trap a
Diseases Skunks Carry
Why do Skunks Dig?
Skunks’ Diet and how they get it
How to Find and Remove a Dead Skunk
Will a skunk under a shed or porch have a
nest of babies?
Do skunks fight each other?
Common North American Skunk Biology and Information
Most skunks are feared, not because they are vicious, but because
their defense mechanism is offensive, not only to humans but also to
most animals. The Skunk, sometimes called a polecat, is a Mephitidae
species mammal that is found throughout the United States and
- Skunks eat both plants and animals, which means
that they are considered omnivorous. Their diets actually change
with the seasons, during the spring; skunks will eat mice, grubs,
snakes, and eggs. During the summer months their diet changes to
beetles, crickets, and other insects, and during the winter they
will consume rabbits, mice, and other little mammals. The skunk also
loves fruits when they are available. There are several kinds of
skunks, but the two common species are the stripped and the spotted.
Both are black and white and have distinctive markings, with the
stripped skunk being larger and weighing up to ten pounds. The
spotted skunk is smaller and can weigh up the six pounds.
Life Cycle and Reproduction
- Most skunks do not live past
ten years, and in the wild this can drop to about three years. This
mammal does not have many predators because of the foul smelling
spray that they emit, although there are a few predatory birds, such
as the owl, that will swoop down and take them. The skunk likes to
live by themselves except when they are breeding or in the dead of
winter when it is cold. They mate in the early spring with a
polygynous male or one who breeds with several females and then the
female will set up her den alone for birthing. The female will have
a litter of about 4 to 6 babies, and are generally called kits. In
May approximately sixty-two to sixty-six days after mating, the
female will have her litter. The kits are small and covered in a
fine fur and cannot see or hear. After about two months the babies
will be weaned from the mother, but will stay with her through the
summer before heading out on their own. All kits are striped even at
birth and they have a natural instinct to spray as soon as they are
weaned. The mothers are very protective their young and will spray
- Skunks do not hibernate in the winter, but they do
sleep for long periods during the colder months. It is not unusual
for several females to sleep together in a den, with the males
living alone. These mammals do not see well and will stay within a
certain area of about one and half miles for females, and up to five
miles for the males. Skunks usually come out in the early mornings
and late evenings to hunt, and will sleep during the day in burrows
that they borrowed from other animals. The skunks will also live in
hollow trees or abandoned vehicles if available.
Common Diseases These Animals Can Spread
- The skunk can be a
carrier of some very harmful diseases to humans as well as to pets.
Since these mammals are adaptable to the urban areas they will live
near humans especially if there is housing and water available so
disease from these animals is possible. Skunks do carry rabies, as
well as distemper and tularemia. Tularemia can cause pneumonia. The
skunks also will carry many parasites such as ticks, lice, and
Common Nuisance Complaints
- One of the main complaints about
skunks is the odor they produce when they feel threatened. This
spray can be aimed at a predator from any direction, the back or the
front and is very hard to get rid of once it has landed on pets or
clothes. Most skunks will try to scare off what is bothersome by
stamping and hissing, but if this does not work they will spray as a
last resort and can reach up to ten feet accurately.