Learn How to Get Rid of Skunks Fast | BEST Repellent for Getting Rid of Skunks | How to Repel Pests

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How to Get Rid of Skunks

Three Parts:

While skunks are generally harmless creatures, it's best not to get too close to them. You risk getting a dose of their noxious spray, or worse, a bite from a skunk carrying rabies. Skunks are omnivores that can live off of human waste, so they often take up residence in yards and under decks. Learn how to make your property less enticing to skunks who need a home and get rid of skunks that have already moved in.


Removing Sources of Skunk Food and Shelter

  1. Remove nuts, berries, and other natural food sources.Skunks are scavengers, so they'll eat anything nutritious they can find. If you have trees that produce nuts, berries, crabapples, or other fruits, clean them up by raking your yard as often as necessary.
    • Other vegetation, like piles of grass clippings, should also be discarded, since it may contain seeds or other sources of food for skunks.
    • If you have a garden, harvest ripe fruit and vegetables as soon as you can, to prevent a hungry skunk from feasting on them.
    • Use a tray under your bird feeder to catch most of the seeds, and clean up stray seeds dropped by birds often.
  2. Protect your waste.Similarly to raccoons and other stray animals, skunks can survive on garbage alone. It's important to keep your trash cans properly sealed. Sometimes regular garbage cans simply won't do. To defend against scavenging animals, you can buy locking garbage cans at a fairly cheap price at your local home improvement store.
    • If possible, store your trash bins in a shed or in your garage at night, so their smell doesn't attract skunks.
    • Use an enclosed compost bin, since skunks like to eat old fruit and vegetable peels, eggshells, and other items that you may be composting.
  3. Close off hiding places.Skunks like to make their homes under decks, porches, and in other sheltered areas. Close off spaces that may be appealing to skunks using rocks, fencing, or plywood.
    • Log piles and piles of lumber or building materials can serve as shelters for skunks. Store the materials in a shed or bin to prevent skunks from moving in.
    • Large bushes are also good shelters for skunks. If you see skunks hanging out in bushes or low vegetation, you might want to trim back the branches so it's not quite as appealing.

Employing Skunk Deterrents

  1. Install lights in your yard.Skunks are nocturnal, and they shy away from bright lights. If you light your yard at night it will be a lot less appealing to skunks. However, you risk attracting insects that like bright light, such as crickets and moths.
    • Since the lights will be shining all night long, consider using solar lighting or energy-saving lighting to avoid paying high electrical bills.
    • You could also install a motion sensor that gets tripped when a skunk or another creature comes close. In this case, the skunk will have to enter your property for the light to work as a deterrent.
  2. Use chemicals that repel skunks.There are a few different chemicals known to be offensive to skunks. If you place them around the edges of your yard and in areas where you suspect skunks like to spend time, the skunks will start avoiding those areas. Chemical repellents have to be reapplied every few days, especially after a heavy rain.
    • Fox and dog urine deters skunks since both animals are skunks' natural predators. If you can figure out how to collect dog urine, that's fine to use. You can also buy products containing fox or dog urine at hardware stores. Spray it around the perimeter of your yard.
    • Pepper sprays, also sold to repel squirrels and other wild creatures, are effective skunk repellents. Spray them on trees and other areas where you've seen skunks.
    • Ammonia also deters skunks. Soak old rags in ammonia and place them under your deck or porch to keep skunks from coming in.
    • Citrus peels have natural repellent qualities. Scatter orange or lemon peels around your property and under your deck or porch.
  3. Install motion-activated sprinklers.These automatically turn on when an animal wanders too close, and are a safe and natural way to keep skunks away from your property. Place them strategically close to areas where you suspect skunks might want to shelter.

Removing Skunks from Your Property

  1. Set a trap.Spring-loaded skunk traps lure the skunk inside with bait, then close the door behind them so they can't escape. The skunk is then carried away from your property and set free in the woods or another open, wild area.
    • Bait the skunk trap with peanut butter, canned sardines, cat food, or another strong-smelling food. Set it near the skunk's den or its route of access to your property.
    • Traps designed for raccoons, feral cats, and other wild animals also work well for skunks.
    • When you releasing the skunk in the woods, wear heavy clothes and gloves, and make sure your face is positioned well away from the door where the skunk will exit the trap. Most of the time, skunks leave traps calmly, but you should take precautions just in case you get sprayed.
  2. Make a garbage can and ramp trap.Get a 30 gallon (113.6 L) metal garbage can and a long stick of wood.
    • Just before dark, place the garbage can upright where you want to trap the skunk. Have it against something strong, such as a wall, so that the skunk cannot tip it over. Bait it with cat food.
    • Get a long, sturdy piece of wood (it must be thick and heavy enough to hold skunk, maybe a 2 x 4). Use it as a ramp to allow the skunk to get from the ground to inside the garbage can.
    • The skunk will not be able to get out of the garbage can. If handled carefully, it will hopefully not spray.
    • After the skunk is inside, put a lid on the garbage can. Put it in your truck and carry the skunk away to a wooded area. Release by tying (or clamping) a twenty foot or longer cord to the lid handle. This will allow you to take off the lid and letting the skunk make its own way back into nature without danger of getting sprayed.
  3. Call Animal Control.If you'd rather leave the skunk handling to an expert, have the animal control center in your region dispatch someone to take care of removal. He or she will have the tools and knowledge to trap and release the skunk.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    How do I keep from being sprayed by a trapped skunk when trying to move him?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If you gently place a large black plastic bag over the cage and move slowly while transporting, they do not spray.
  • Question
    I saw a skunk in my shed. What is the best way to prevent it from coming back?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Keep a light on in your shed, and maybe even add brighter lights. They do not like light, as they are nocturnal.
  • Question
    What do I do if I run into a skunk?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Do your best to remain calm and give it as much space as possible. You should not have to worry about the skunk spraying you unless it feels threatened.
  • Question
    What attracts skunks?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Skunks are attracted to easy food sources. That can be scavenged insects, fruit, compost, nuts, seeds, etc. Once the food source can't be easily scavenged, they will move on when their needs can't be met.
  • Question
    Is there any kind of skunk poison?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Do not try to poison a skunk. One, it is illegal in most, if not all, states. Two, the last thing you want is a dead skunk under your deck or in your crawl space or someplace where you cannot get to it. As the skunk decays, you not only get the dead smell but the skunk odor. This will continue for weeks or months as the decay continues and the scent glands rot down.
  • Question
    If I see a skunk during the day, does it mean it's rabid?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Not necessarily. The skunk could be rabid, but it could also be sick. In either case, you shouldn't get too close to it. You should call animal control to get rid of it.
  • Question
    Will animal control charge me for skunk removal?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    There is a difference between animal (domestic) control and wildlife control. Skunks fall under wildlife control. Most licensed wildlife control people charge for animal removal. The prices range widely depending upon many factors. If you can get a removal done for less than 0.00 you are very lucky. All of that being said, some towns or counties have an animal(all) control person on staff that handles everything at tax payer expense but these are few and far between.
  • Question
    Will a skunk spray when it has been startled or trapped?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Most likely, yes.
  • Question
    When do skunks have babies?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It will be later in the spring in the north than in the south, usually May to early July. For more precision, it is suggested that you look up the answer to this question online for the area of the country you live in.
  • Question
    Can I use moth ball sprinkles or pine as a deterrent?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Try orange peels instead. Also, pee in a bucket and pour a long line of it around your boundary.. Human hair from a hairbrush under shrubs should work too.
Unanswered Questions
  • What method is best to get skunks to stay away, without harming cats that might come into the yard?
  • Are skunks attracted to animal waste?
  • What do I do with a skunk that keeps spraying so strongly in my front yard?
  • Do skunks dig multiple holes?
  • Where do skunks live?
Ask a Question
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Informative video about how to get rid of skunks
  • When releasing a trapped skunk, be patient. It may take a few minutes for the skunk to come to its senses and leave the trap.
  • Check local laws before trapping and relocating a skunk. This practice may not be permitted in your area.
  • If possible, avoid trapping skunks during their breeding season in the spring and summer. You may end up trapping an adult female skunk who has a den full of baby skunks who will then starve to death.

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Quick Summary

To get rid of skunks, fill a spring-loaded skunk trap with bait like peanutbutter and set it near the skunk’s den. Once you catch it, wear heavy clothes and gloves and take the skunk to the woods to release it, keeping your face away from the trap’s door as much as possible. To deter skunks naturally, rake up natural food sources like nuts, seeds, and berries, lock up your trash cans, and close off hiding places like decks and porches. Place citrus peels around the edges of your yard, or spray with bad-smelling chemicals, like pepper spray or dog urine.

Success Stories

Deb Shu

May 8

"I just wanted to know a natural way. Ammonia and old rags, cool, I have those. Thanks."

Barbara Reed

Mar 14, 2019

"I have had a skunk in my yard for several months. Now, every morning, I go to my washroom area and I smell skunk. Ihave walked the perimeter and can't find out where he's at, unless he is under my house. I'm going to start with using a cage to see if that helps catch him. Thanks for all the info, I will take it one step at a time."

Jon Manning

Apr 11, 2019

"We have several skunks that get in under our mobile home. The tips on what repels them and different ways to trapthem safely will be extremely helpful. I now think we can get rid of them with out risking being sprayed. Thank you for the information."

Bill Schisler

Jul 9, 2019

"I think skunks are somewhat cute for a rodent, but after trying to clean up after each of my dogs got sprayed, theyare not that cute! Since the 4th of July, I've seen a skunk in my back yard several times. I will try to use suggestions."

Sandra Moore

Jul 23, 2019

"I didn't know about using ammonia-soaked rags. I currently have a mama skunk with 3 little skunks that follow herliving in a bush on the side of my patio. I turn on the light and they don't seem to be fazed by it one bit. "

Eddie Bauer

Mar 10, 2019

"I'm about to move to an area that has an abundance of the little critters and the article gave me some real goodideas about keeping them at bay without harming them. I will be peeing regularly on my perimeter!"

C. Smith

Nov 27, 2019

"Three ways to eliminate skunks without much effort on your part. All useful in general so when the skunks are goneyou will still reap benefits from your purchase. Thanks!"

Luba Y.

Mar 8, 2019

"This helped immensely because I have two dogs and they almost got sprayed by the skunks in my yard! The best thingwas to install a motion light. No more skunks! Thanks. "

Margaret Cannon

Aug 24, 2019

"This information on the habits of skunks & how best to get rid of them was easy to access & understand. Itis informative enough that I am bookmarking this page!"

Sandi Ramos

Aug 15, 2019

"Lots of good info!! Maybe the light will work. I'm a little nervous to block up the hole, because what if theskunk is still under the house when I do?"

Dolly Trimble Welch

Jun 13, 2019

"I've got a skunk living under my shed, most likely babies also. I am going to try soaking rags with ammonia, assuggested. Thank you."
Rated this article:

Kaycee Zarske

Jul 16, 2019

"I had no ideas for dealing with roaming neighborhood skunks, but after reading the article, I'm more informed. "
Rated this article:

Don Barret

Jul 18, 2019

"The garbage can trap is an excellent idea, as it enables the release with minimal risk of getting sprayed."

Philip Thygesen

Jun 1, 2019

"A skunk moved in under a shed under an apple tree. I did not know what to do. Now I do. Thanks! "
Rated this article:

Kristin Fehlmann

Jul 31, 2019

"Stinky friend hanging around my yard at night. Hopefully some of these fixes will help! "
Rated this article:

Sheila Watson

Mar 3

"Use of deterrents, product's to kill larvae, grubs flees and other lawn insects."

Nancy Elkins

Aug 18, 2019

"Yes! So far so good. Different, simple little things that one could try. Thanks!"

Felicia Lewis

Feb 27, 2019

"I didn't know that ammonia was a repellent and the lights would help, thank you."

Jessie Carpenter

Aug 6, 2019

"It's gone! Magic! This was the only article that helped that I could find."
Rated this article:

Vic J.

Jun 2, 2019

"The use of ammonia and knowing where to get the supplies are both useful."

Denise Snyder

Jul 18, 2019

"Gave me ideas on how deter the skunks coming into my yard at night."

Judy Dorfman

Jul 30, 2019

"Has given me methods to keep skunks out of my yard. Very helpful. "
Rated this article:

Cindy Gernon

Jul 6, 2019

"Have learned what we can do to eliminate skunks or deter them."
Rated this article:

Mike Murphy

Aug 23, 2019

"I liked the details on how to get rid of the little critters."

Roger McNee

Jul 6, 2019

"I used bags of moth balls. It worked, the skunk left."

Sharon Ostrander

Oct 23, 2019

"Helped me to choose my next course of action. "

Jack Bessette

Jan 26

"The three methods to get rid of skunks helped. "

Becky Medvetz

Jul 14, 2019

"Gave me some easy, inexpensive things to try.

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