Let’s face it, Skunks have a bad reputation. They look adorable (especially as babies) and are generally harmless, but if your dog has ever gotten too curious, you know that skunk spray can make a stinky mess. So what should you do if you see a skunk around your house or commercial building?
Here are some tips to get rid of skunks before you have to go take a bath in tomato juice@!
Skunks are slow-moving members of the weasel family about the size of an adult house cat. The white-striped black fur is a distinct warning. The striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis, is common throughout the U.S., Canada, and some parts of Mexico; the other species of skunks, such as the spotted skunk, are not native to Canada.
Even though skunks are not aggressive animals, many people know about skunk musk. Skunks almost always aim for the eyes, and getting sprayed can lead to temporary blindness (not to mention the smell!). No matter how cute skunks are, anyone who has been sprayed can attest that getting sprayed once is more than enough.
So, what should you do if you see a skunk on your property?
Here are a few things you can try, followed by some common questions. Or if you need immediate professional help, you can contact us for skunk removal services!
1. Wait It Out
Skunks are considered nomadic animals (meaning they roam, without much of a home!). Even if a skunk has curled up beneath your deck, it probably will not stay there for very long. Maybe it saw something in your yard and is there for access to pet food left outdoors. Often times, it will probably leave on its own.
What happens more often though, is a dog will corner the animal under a deck or crawl space, and keep it trapped in an area until either the pet gets sprayed, or someone comes to remove the skunk from under the wood deck, or crawl area. If you hear your dog barking at something under a deck, its best to get him out of there ASAP!
Many homeowners worry that a skunk shuffling through their yard might have rabies, especially if it’s out during the day. Many mammals have the potential for rabies and skunks are usually more nocturnal animals, but daytime wandering is pretty uncommon for skunks. They are not always infected animals.
Skunks are mild-tempered animals that mind their own business (unless provoked!). But most people suspect the worst: that a skunk has made your backyard into its home, and may even have kits (babies).
So what else can you do in this situation?
2. Find the Food
Skunks are omnivores. They will eat whatever food items they find. If a skunk is sticking around, it probably has to do with the availability of food.
Specifically, you may be concerned about skunk damage to your yard. Skunks are excellent diggers and can damage your yard in search of grubs. If this is the case, seek treatment for white grubs at your local garden center. If the food goes away, so will the skunk.
Also, make sure all sources of “pet food” are either indoors or locked in a skunk-proof container. A skunk will take any accessible food it can get. Do not give it any food sources, and he will most likely move on to find more.
3. Look for the Den
Whether your skunk has kits or not, it is important to know where it might be staying. Skunks are not true hibernators, but they go dormant during the winter. Skunk.com cites the damage they can do to the foundations of homes while trying to make an entrance hole.
If you suspect a skunk might stay in your yard for more than a few days, look for potential entrances to a den. Garden tool sheds, chicken coops, decks, and other common yard fixtures can all make good dens. Think like a skunk to figure out where it is hiding.
4. Make Some Noise
Skunks have poor vision. Their best senses are smell, touch, and hearing. Making noise should turn their shuffle into a gallop. If you are serious, TipsBulletin recommends an ultrasonic pest control device (which will also keep squirrels and other pests away) too.
On a related note, if you know where the skunk is, spray something acidic like a diluted solution of vinegar or lemon juice around the area. Skunks hate these types of smells, go figure!
What if I See Kits?
Skunk babies are adorable, but this does not mean you should approach them! Mother skunks will protect their litters of 4-6 baby skunks, so getting close to them could mean a spray. If you suspect there is a family of skunks hiding out somewhere, look for a den, but don’t get too close. Luckily, we are experts at the relocation of skunks. We also have 3 locations around Southwestern Ontario to serve our community:
Should I Trap the Skunk?
You may have seen DIY skunk traps online that use peanut butter or cat food as bait. It is not worth it. All you need to do is call our wildlife control service to inform us that the skunk is there and we will take care of the rest. Skunk droppings, skunk tracks, are all signs of skunk activity, so you can Google these things on your phone to be sure what you are dealing with.
What Should I Do About a Dead Skunk?
Having any dead animal near your building is unpleasant, but this is really bad if it is a skunk. Skunks cannot use their scent glands after death, but most people swear that a skunk corpse smells worse than any other dead animal. It is better to leave handling deceased wild animals to professionals. Wear rubber gloves if you plan to dispose of any dead animal yourself.
I Got Sprayed! What Do I Do?
If you or someone you love has been sprayed by a skunk, there are a few things you can do. Tomato juice doesn’t work that well! First, avoid spreading this oil around your house if possible. Then, take a bath.
Your bath should have a solution of baking soda or deodorizing soap instead of regular soap and water. Healthline has all the recipes you will need for proper de-skunking—even if your car got a coat of skunk spray!
If you see (or smell) a skunk on your property, it probably means no harm. But there are also reasons to worry about skunks in your yard, if you have pets, or they get stuck under your deck or home.
ProTrap Pest & Animal Control is a wildlife control service familiar with the damage skunks can do in urban settings. Contact us about skunk removal today!