Learn how to deter skunks from your home with seven simple but reliable steps and tricks!
Deter Skunks Effectively with These 7 Steps
1. Remove Skunks’ Food Sources and Shelter
How do you deter skunks naturally? Get to the bottom of their food source and some of the foods skunks like are are nuts and berries.
Skunks are scavengers, so they’ll eat anything nutritious they can find in your area.
- 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 go 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 so you can 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.
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2. Protect Your Waste to Deter Skunks
We all know that dreaded skunk smells, but how can you deter skunks? Chances are if you live in a rural area, you know the scent of a skunk – and they are stinky!
The scent of their spray can linger for days, so don’t fall victim to skunk activity. If you want home remedies to keep skunks away, start with your garbage disposal.
Like raccoons and other stray animals, skunks can survive on garbage alone. So it’s important to keep your trash cans properly sealed.
- If possible, store your trash bins in a shed or in your garage at night to deter skunks
- Use an enclosed compost bin, since skunks like to eat old fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, 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. With that in mind, put these skunk removal tips into action.
- 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 so if you see skunks hanging out in bushes or low vegetation, you might want to trim back the branches.
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4. Install Skunk Deterrent Lights in Your Yard
Skunks shy away from bright lights because they are nocturnal. If you light your yard at night, it will be a lot less appealing to skunks.
- Since the lights will be shining all night long, consider using solar lighting or energy-saving lighting to avoid paying high electrical bills.
- You can 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.
5. Use Different Scents to Deter Skunks
There are a few different scents 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.
- Fox and dog urine deter skunks since foxes and dogs 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 deterrents. 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 skunk repellent qualities. Scatter orange or lemon peels around your property and under your deck or porch.
6. Install Motion-Activated Sprinklers
These automatically turn on when an animal wanders too close and are a safe and natural way to keep the skunks away from your property. Place them strategically close to areas where you suspect skunks might want to shelter.
- Pos/Neg capable fence for dry conditions or use with high resistance animals. Ideal for situations when there is too little moisture in the soil to properly ground the fence
- Drivable posts (.75") are much stronger and stiffer than standard line posts and can be pounded in with a dead-blow hammer or mallet. Installs easily in hard or frozen soils as well as soft soils.
7. Set a Trap
— Josephine Mills (@Josie_M_Mills) June 11, 2015
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 other strong-smelling foods. 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 release 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.
How to Make a Garbage Can and Ramp Trap
What you’ll need:
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- 30-gallon (113.6 L) metal garbage can
- A long, sturdy piece of wood (preferably a 2×4)
- 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 the skunk cannot tip it over.
- Bait it with cat food.
- Get long, sturdy pieces of wood (it must be thick and heavy enough to hold a 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 the 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.
To learn more about how to deter skunks, watch this video from Helpful DIY’s channel:
Be sure to follow the abovementioned steps to successfully deter skunks from your home.
Do you have a deterrent method not listed here you would like to share? Please tell us your ways to deter skunks in the comment section below.
Up Next: How to Deal With Stray Dogs
Products to help you maintain a skunk-free yard:
- In need of an animal trap? Check out this Large Collapsable Humane Live Animal Trap.
- A Predator Guard Solar-Powered Predator Deterrent could be just the thing you need to effectively keep skunks out of your yard.
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Editor’s Note: This post was first published on June 6, 2018, and has been updated for accuracy and relevancy.
Last update on 2020-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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