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Tips to Remove Garden Skunks
updated: Jul 24, 2014, 10:48 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Can edhatters provide tips on deterring skunks from the home and backyard? My daughter is a single mother with three children under 10 years of age. Skunks have come into her house if the doors are left open! So far there has been no harm done but Animal Control said they cannot help.

Thanks for the advice!

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 538835 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 10:58 AM

BB gun, male urine, big dog, or a local pest control company.


 COMMENT 538836 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 10:59 AM

Cat or Dog.


 COMMENT 538839 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:04 AM

ammonia soaked rags


 COMMENT 538841 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:06 AM

If you can locate their nesting area, often times under a storage shed, toss a sock full of moth balls underneath. That has worked for me. They will usually re-locate.


 COMMENT 538842P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:08 AM

Moth balls have worked at my place, under the house. Yes, they're toxic, but hopefully the whiff sends them away before toxicity takes place.


 COMMENT 538843 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:09 AM

I just looked online and there are many many articles with different approaches. If you google "skunk removal" you'll get some. There are pest control companies that will live trap and move them, but if you have inadvertently created an environment which attracts them, you'd just wind up with a new family of skunks moving in. Better to figure out what you can do to get rid of whatever they are coming for, seal up the den when the skunk and her babies are out foraging,and clear away the food source (trash? Pet food? ) so they move on. Your daughter may want to look up the signs a skunk gives before spraying, and go over them with her children, with the warning that they should leave the animal (including the adorable babies) alone, not scare it, not get too close. Assuming it's the kids leaving the door open--get some self closing gadgets so the door closes behind them when they run through.


 COMMENT 538847P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:12 AM

Uh...close the doors, or put up a baby gate to block the opening; or even install a screen door? Make sure there's no pet, bird, or people food left outside for skunks to scavenge. If it's open, seal the underside of the house with wire mesh. Clean up any piles of garden waste or junk.


 COMMENT 538849 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:17 AM

Vicks vapor rub on cotton balls threaded on a string (so they don't blow all over your yard)...or you could use peppermint oil.
I got rid of whatever was eating my tomatoes by placing little hot peppers about. They ate those and never came back.


 ANIMALLISTNER agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:25 AM

Ceyenne Pepper works great!


 COMMENT 538854 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:26 AM

Just last night I was woken from a deep sleep to the pungent aroma of skunk. Burned out my nose hairs and cleaned out my sinuses. Still smells like skunk in my room, hours later. And I'm on a slab so he's not under the house.


 COMMENT 538860 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:32 AM

I would say a short, sharp, cutting remark aimed at their self-esteem would be a start.


 COMMENT 538862 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:33 AM

Skunks have bad eyesight and so spray first and ask questions later. Typically skunks are nocturnal and only forage at night so exterior doors would normally be shut during these hours. Remove all exterior food (e.g., fruit laying on the ground) and water sources to decrease their foraging activities. Prevent entry in to yard if possible by blocking access routes under fences, etc.

If the issue is skunks nesting on the property, call Wildlife Care Network and they may be able to humanely trap the skunks and relocate them to a more rural area.


 COMMENT 538878 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 11:56 AM

They don't like ammonia or urine. Which is also the excuse I use with my wife when I go pee in my backyard every night.


 COMMENT 538943 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 01:10 PM

Not surprised they come in if the doors are left open, they're curious and looking for food/water. My dogs keep them out, and I can leave the doors open 24/7.

Can she get screen doors? I just got one on craigslist for $10. If not, try putting something like a board across the bottom of the doorway blocking their entry, they are not good climbers.

I've heard that they don't like people noises so leaving a radio on with a talk radio station near the doorway may help. Or maybe they will just get used to it and huddle around listing to late night talk radio with their friends.

This is probably the busy season for skunks, their kittens are growing up and exploring. Hopefully they will simmer down soon, unless you leave food out for them.

Please don't trap, poison, exterminate, or try to relocate, they are territorial so others will just fill in the gap.

Keep any food source like fruit trees or pet food out of their reach. Pick up fruit on the ground, if there is any.


 COMMENT 538950 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 01:15 PM

What are they eating? If you have a fruit tree that is dropping fruit, pick up all the fruit every afternoon and they'll stop coming by soon.


 COMMENT 538962P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 01:32 PM

There are many threads here on Edhat w/info and links to local brochures. No agency traps wildlife. Many of us will recommend Steve, the "eraticator"; he's great at helping wildlife-proof. But do the research yourself first. And yes, she must get a screen door!

Here's lots of Edhat talk about deterring skunks:




About seeing skunks in the daytime:


All about skunks, from the most knowledgeable person in Santa Barbara, The Skunk Lady, Jackie Darbyshire:



 COMMENT 538969P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 01:43 PM

A by-the-way, if you see a very sick skunk or raccoon, it's much more likely to be distemper, like dogs get, than something dangerous or deadly to humans (rabies). You can see green nasal discharge and they hunch over, like a person curls up with the pain of a bad illness like influenza. If an animal shows neurological symptoms (seizures, paralysis, lack of coordination, i.e., can't walk), call an agency immediately.

This isn't good. I thought reportable disease stats would be easy to find on county public health website. Not true.

Did find this:
"Can humans get infected with the canine distemper virus?

Humans can get infected with the virus, meaning the virus seems able to replicate in the human body, but no illness results. It does not appear that there is any human hazard in the canine distemper virus."


 COMMENT 539013 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 02:36 PM

Easy. Use a couple of "Scarecrows" made by Contech. We use two to protect two small ponds from night visitors and keep a wash basin filled with water nearby for them to use.


 COMMENT 539019 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 02:40 PM

They were here first. You should just let them be. I put cat food out for them.


 COMMENT 539040 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 03:01 PM

We get them in our backyard too. We live in a residential area, houses on all sides. We try to keep a look out for holes in the ground around the fence line. I never feel comfortable with leaving our slider open after dark. It is in the living room, and there have been many times we have been in here watching tv, all the lights on, outside lights on, and skunks come thru. We have a dog (small one), and try to always remember to pick up her food, but they will stroll thru even if nothing is out there. We don't let her out after dark by herself. The last time my daughter did, she got sprayed and it smelled like burning tires in our home. It was awful! It took so long to get that smell out. I'm going to try some of these tips, and look at the suggested links too.


 COMMENT 539064 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 03:29 PM

For my yard, I use a Fido Shocker device. The device electrifies a wire set about ankle high. Deters Raccoons as well. The shock is non life threatening.


 COMMENT 539149 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-24 05:42 PM

We had 3 baby skunks in the yard last nite playing like kittens ! We stood on the porch and watched them and they paid no attention to us at all. They eventually all bumbled off, fighting and biting and wrestling and being so cute it's hard to remember that they are armed and dangerous from day one !


 ANDY agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 06:23 AM

I use FiShock low power electric wire around the perimeter of my yard. They learn fast. Pet stores sell them. Often accidentally shock myself. Better than a cup of coffee to wake you up.


 COMMENT 539279 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 08:07 AM

This worked for me: they were under my shed, so I got a small radio and tuned in bad talk radio and blasted it at the opening for three days. They can't sleep so then they leave. I put chicken wire down and around the base of the shed and they are gone. They still come into the yard but not living here keeps the stink away.


 COMMENT 539285P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 08:14 AM

Skunks are nocturnal, and I ave read that they do not like lighted areas. My solution, solar landscape lighting (Home Depot has a large selection), placed where they might be entering the property, or nesting. Has worked for me.


 COMMENT 539298 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 08:40 AM

thanks for all the comments


 COMMENT 539314 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 09:27 AM

I leave a computer monitor on my lawn, with Edhat open. That usually deters them.


 COMMENT 539350 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 10:06 AM

I would rather smell skunks than listen to talk radio!


 COMMENT 539354 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 10:14 AM

Please~do not use pest control...they trap them...sometimes separating mommy from babies...& they DO NOT relocate them...they gas them...one pest control I know does it right in the back of their truck....they apparently are not allowed to relocate.....do other suggested ways.....


 COMMENT 539390P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 11:00 AM

If your dog or cat gets a direct hit in the nose, take it to the emergency vet immediately, can be fatal.


 COMMENT 539432 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 12:59 PM

Sometimes the pest control guy shoots them with a rifle with a silencer on it. He says he gases them in a box in the back of his truck, which is bad enough, but I caught him once shooting a racoon in the box. Costs him less money I guess.


 COMMENT 539502 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 04:13 PM

skunks are nomads but will come back to the same place every year. We can't keep them out, but live with them peacefully. If you find their home or nest, put a light there and maybe even a radio, they don't like the light at all, and the radio will bother them enough to make them move. We also have a little yellow lazer gun that points a high pitched noise at them (amazon/Royal Garden Premium Animal Chaser Ultrasonic Cordless Scram Pet Trainer Pest Patrol Repeller $10) didn't cost much but if pointed at the opposing skunks, racoons, poop pests, etc., they usually get bothered enough to just run away from the noise humans can't hear. Many skunks are aware of humans and not scared easily, but babies don't have control over their stink until older and hence the eye watering stench. You've probably got less bugs in the yard because of them, yeah organic bug control. Think burnt coffee beans instead of icky skunk, might work!


 BEACHSONG agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-25 04:54 PM

Moth balls and disco works for us. I put moth balls around the dig site under the shed. Then light and music. The skunks don't like it and move. The county does not help . They say to hire the federal trapper. He costs about $250/ skunk.


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