Should I Remove Skunks Myself?
There are very good reasons not to allow skunks to take up residence in, around or under your property. The most obvious is the malodorous aroma that heralds their presence, but others include their potential for carrying and transmitting the rabies virus, infestation with ticks, fleas and lice, their proclivity for digging up lawns and gardens, and establishing dens under homes and in buildings and wood piles.
In many cases, a denned-up skunk will be a mother and if babies are present, leave the skunk alone until the kits are about six weeks old and are big enough to follow her outside to forage. Usually, they will also then move out and move on.
If a skunk doesn’t ultimately leave on its own, removal may be necessary. If you plan to do the job yourself, there are several approaches you can take, most commonly locating the den and then excluding and/or trapping the animals. To do so, you should close off all but one means of access to the den, whether underground or under/in a building, before you set the excluder or the trap. In doing so, assure that there are no babies left inside to starve and die.
For exclusion, you can build or buy a one-way door that opens outward, placing it at the remaining opening. The skunk exits and can’t return. Hopefully, it will simply wander off. For humane trapping, use a single door cage trap placed at or near the entrance and baited with an aromatic favorite food. Cover the cage partially with a blanket to exclude bright light so the animal isn’t reluctant to enter.
The animals are not naturally volatile so once the door closes behind the skunk it will probably munch on the bait and just relax. To remove the caged skunk, approach the trap slowly so as not to alarm it, cover the cage with the rest of the blanket so the animal remains calm, and either take it to a skunk-friendly environment or have animal control come and get it.
Always be cautious when dealing with skunks, because if they feel threatened, they will respond with their noxious spray. Before taking action close up, observe their behavior from a safe distance of 12-15 feet or more to make sure they’re not angry or agitated.
If you have no previous experience with wildlife, you are probably best advised to contact an animal control expert, who can trap it, take it away, and even prevent a return. It’s often the best solution, both for your own well-being and that the wild creature, who only wants to live and let live.
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