Skunks: Their Behavior & How To Get Rid Of Them
Skunks can easily be spotted by their characteristic black and white coloring, but it’s often the intense smell of their spray that gives their presence away.
While skunks themselves are generally mild-mannered, most homeowners understandably like to keep them off of their property. Not only do we fear getting sprayed by skunks, but they can also dig holes, ruin plants, and cause other issues with our landscaping.
We’re going to talk about some effective removal methods for skunks, but first let’s get to know their behavior and habits.
Skunks are known to have a great sense of smell and hearing, but have poor vision. They like to stay in their dens for long amounts of time over winter and only live up to seven to ten years.
Skunks are non-aggressive creatures who are commonly quite gentle and have mostly earned their poor reputation because of their unfortunate smell.
Mating & Breeding Habits Of Skunks
Mating takes place in early spring for skunks, with birth usually happening in May. Males will mate with more than one female during mating season. Female skunks will give birth to a litter of anywhere from four to seven kits with the gestation period lasting about 66 days.
During the day time you can generally find skunks sheltering in burrows that they dig themselves. Although they do not hibernate, they will stay in their dens for long amounts of time as they are not super active. Maternal dens are kept for when babies are born.
Some of the more serious diseases that skunks can carry are canine distemper, rabies, intestinal roundworm, canine hepatitis and leptospirosis. Skunks also happen to be one of the most common carriers of rabies which is fatal to humans.
Skunks can cause significant damage to homes and property. They are known to dig holes that can leave messes in your garden and under your deck, or cause damage to your home’s foundation. Skunks will also eat the food from gardens and knock over plants, and can even transmit their diseases to farm animals and pets.
Skunk Removal Myths
A commonly discussed removal method is through ammonia, which turns out to be an ineffective way to remove skunks. Skunks do have a great sense of smell however, ammonia is ineffective as it can be washed away from rain.
Similarly, pepper is a commonly known method which can help if carefully placed near the entrance of a skunk den. However, pepper can also be easily washed away or removed and would need to be applied often.
Skunk Baby Season
Baby skunks are usually birthed in the month of May. They are born blind and deaf and are nursed in a maternal den until they reach about six weeks old. After the nursing period, baby skunks will follow their mother for trips outside, and are fully weaned by two months of age.
Skunk Removal Method #1: Excluders
The one-way excluder door is a removal method that allows animals to remove themselves from unwanted areas. Its design is simple as you can use the mounting wings to attach the excluder door over the skunk’s den entrance. They will then be prevented from returning to the den after exiting.
Before using an excluder door, be sure to complete a thorough inspection of your backyard, deck and shed to know how many skunks you might be dealing with. If you are trying to complete skunk removal during baby season it may not be possible as the babies will need extra care and should not be removed.
After installing the excluder door be patient as it may take some time for the skunk to leave their den. Especially since skunks are known to stay in their dens for long periods of time.
After you have safely removed the skunk from the area, be sure to repair and protect the area. You can do this by removing food sources, sealing up any holes and cracks in the area, clearing the area from any woodpiles and debris, and keeping your home clear of clutter. This will help to protect the area against any future intrusions.
Skunk Removal Method #2: Live Trapping
For live trapping and relocation of a skunk, be sure to purchase a cage large and sturdy enough. Put the trap in the area that you’ve seen the most skunk damage in and use bread with peanut butter or more oily meats as bait. Once you have caught the skunk you can avoid being sprayed by quietly placing a sheet or blanket over the trap. Skunks will not spray something that they cannot see.
You can then relocate and release the skunk into an approved area. However, the best option for trap and removal is to hire someone who works in professional skunk exclusion.
The best method for avoiding skunks on your property is to prevent them by securing the area. Close off any entrances or foundations to your home so that they are unable to enter the area in the first place.
Overall, exclusion can be a great method for animal removal when done correctly. Always be sure to know about the laws and rules around exclusion in your area before taking any steps. Contact a professional to help solve your skunk problem for the best results and to give yourself peace of mind your pest problem is handled.