Some animals represent an unpleasant problem when they infest homes, skunks are the ones that cause major inconveniences, knowing how to get rid of skunks is essential to eliminate their unpleasant presence in the surroundings of the home.
Although the appearance of these animals is not entirely unpleasant, the stinking and repulsive odor that they leave with their presence is, that these animals have anal glands located under their tail.
They expel a substance containing a functional group -SH, which causes the presence of sulfur in this compound to produce an unbearable odor.
The Liquid That Skunks Shed
In addition to the sulfhydryl group, this substance consists of 3-methyl-butanethiol and 2-butene-1-thiol, and skunks have the capacity to throw it up to 2 meters.
Skunks do not produce it constantly, they can produce it up to 6 times without running out, but once exhausted, they must wait up to 6 days for this substance to be replenished by the animal’s organism.
Expert Tip: This liquid is the defense mechanism that skunks use against predators, and against what they may consider can harm them. This substance released by skunks can even cause blindness in humans, and respiratory problems, including choking symptoms.
How to know if skunks are invading the home
In order to know how to get rid of skunks, the best thing to do is to verify that the home is infested by these animals.
Ways to determine the presence of skunks
The most characteristic to identify the presence of skunks is undoubtedly the foul odor they emanate, the visual characteristics are unmistakable, the typical black animal with the peculiar white stripe on the upper part of the body.
Other signs of skunks wandering around the home are small, shallow holes in yards and in the grassy area of gardens. One basis of skunks’ diet is insect and larval types, which is why they scavenge in the garden soil.
Suppose when inspecting the patios and gardens you find sunken areas, devoid of vegetation. In that case, it is another sign that the skunks are visiting the place, be sure to note that these areas have the fetid odor that characterizes them, and usually if these are their hiding places, by the frequency with which they have been.
It will be verified by the presence of black and white hairs. Like the rats, the skunks defecate in a peculiar way wherever they pass, examining the excrement it is possible to determine the presence of these animals, but neither is that you are going to submit them to a bioanalyst.
It is enough to know the appropriate size to consider that they are skunks, normally they have a length of 2 inches, and a thickness of half-inch, and the color of these feces is dark, similar to the one of the rats.
What Attracts Skunks to the Home
One of the fundamental aspects of any successful how-to get rid of skunks’ plan is to know why they come to the home. Is there something in and around our home that attracts them?
Skunks forage for food, so they look for places where insects, worms, pet food, garbage, fruit, honey, birds, and smaller rodents are abundant, and they are attracted to bird eggs.
If you have laying hens in your home, you already know that they are a target for skunks to approach, Skunks look for suitable places such as basements, attics, and if there are spaces between the floor of the house and the ground, this is an ideal area to establish their burrows, especially when they are in the breeding season.
This further aggravates the situation, since these animals can give birth to up to 10 offspring in a single birth, and their gestation times are relatively short, less than 2 months, which means that in a very short time there will not be one skunk, but many on your property.
11 Ways to get rid of skunks
Having determined the existence of skunks on the property, the most important thing is to document how to get rid of skunks, effectively. Here are 11 effective alternatives to eliminate the unpleasant presence of these stinking animals.
Installation of solar lights
There is a wide range of this type of light, with different functions, capacities, and prices, the trick is to acquire the one that works best against skunks, and the one that best fits the budget you have.
These lights have the advantage that they are recharged with sunlight, and when fully charged can provide illumination for up to 12 hours, another advantage is that there are special models to fit close to the ground, they come with a base in the form of a spike that is driven into the ground.
Among the advantageous functionalities, there are models provided with motion sensors, and they have the capacity to detect any movement up to distances greater than 5 meters, they are special to have them outdoors.
They are very effective to scare away skunks and other animals, those equipped with sensors will turn on when the animal approaches, producing very bright light that the animal.
Despite not having a privileged vision, will notice the light, and will be frightened, will associate this lighting with a predator, and to protect itself will have no choice but to flee.
Expert Tip: The effectiveness of this illumination lies in the nocturnal habit of the skunks, they will surely go out at night to prowl in search of food, and they will find this system of lights that will fill them with fear, scaring them in such a way, that in all probability they will not dare to return.
Use of ultrasound
The sound frequencies that different types of animals, including skunks, can perceive are imperceptible to humans. The frequency ranges that humans perceive range from 20 to 20,000 Hertz, above this frequency is considered ultrasound and is the type of sound that a small animal such as a skunk can pick up.
The reason this technology is used to drive them away is that they cannot stand the sounds produced by devices specially designed to cause discomfort to different types of animals in order to drive them away without harming them.
These devices have upgraded versions to operate with sensors that are activated when they perceive movement and are equipped with mechanisms to place them at ground level.
To increase the efficiency of this alternative, there are models that emit sounds in a frequency range between 13.5 kHz and 65 kHz and combine them synchronized with lights, activating the ultrasound sensor and the light sensor simultaneously.
The skunk will associate the annoyance caused by the ultrasound with the eyes of a predator since that is what it will understand the lights to be.
Eliminate the sources of attraction
Having identified what attracts skunks, a plan should be established so that these animals do not have easy access to what they are looking for.
- Keep garbage cans hermetically sealed.
- The garden and the patios of the home must be kept free of seeds, remains of them, and any fruit, the ideal is to carry out constant raking to eliminate sources of attraction of the skunks.
- Inspect the property and seal all holes that are found, both on the ground and in fences, porches, usually in the attics, and sheds there is always a lot of material lying around, and places like this, are sought by skunks to hide.
Eliminates all kinds of stacked materials, wood, metal, and plastic pipes, you can organize them by hanging them on the roof.
- Maintain proper pruning of vegetation, remember that skunks also eat weeds, you can identify the ones they like the most, noting how they are bitten, and remove that type of plant from the garden.
- If pets such as dogs and cats feed outside the house, pick up the waste of this food, do the same with birdseed, and pick up the remains of it from the ground.
- Chickens and eggs are a special attraction for skunks, keep the chicken coop out of reach of these, you can have it aerial, or place fences making it difficult for skunks to access.
- Use effective insect repellents in yards and gardens. By eliminating insects, you will be eliminating much of the attraction for skunks.
Use the Power of Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits have a very varied composition, where water, minerals, and a set of organic compounds are involved, all combined generate in the fruit a very characteristic smell of acid, this smell is detested by skunks.
Use lemon and orange peels to place them in places where they are likely to transit, and near their possible burrows, the citrus smell will immediately repel them.
Use of predator urine
Spraying the urine of some predators such as coyotes is very effective how to get rid of skunks’ weapons, these are available at hunting stores, and other stores in the field.
The smell of this urine causes panic in the skunks and they will not come back to frequent the home, it should be sprayed near the burrows, through the garden, and in all the surroundings of the house, this spraying should also be done frequently, since the air and the rain make it less effective.
Use of soaps and deodorants
The odors that in normal situations are pleasant for people are very unpleasant for skunks, the more concentrated the odor of the soap perfume, and deodorant is, the more effective it is in repelling these animals.
Expert Tip: The procedure to use this technique is to place the bars of strongly scented soaps in all the areas where the skunks usually go, even if the hiding place or burrow is found, place the soap and a piece of highly scented deodorant.
Ammonia as a repellent
This alternative is one of the most efficient to repel skunks from around the house. It is a chemical compound with an extremely penetrating odor that causes breathing difficulties for the animals.
The skunks flee quickly when they perceive the intense smell of ammonia, and if it is maintained frequently, they will certainly not return. As this compound is caustic and very dangerous, its handling must be done with extreme safety measures, such as the use of gloves and protective masks.
The most efficient way to apply it is by wetting cloths or tow, in this way the odor effect will be maintained for longer, and placing them in the areas where it is believed that skunks roam, in the sheds, and try to place them in the holes that serve as hiding places.
Because this substance evaporates in the air, it is necessary to soak them frequently with ammonia, as long as it is suspected that the skunks still remain in the territory adjacent to the home.
Water pressure attacks
Unexpected water baths displease any animal, so installing sprinklers in the area of yards and gardens where skunks are believed to roam is an effective technique. These sprinklers are available with motion sensors, which activate the water stream when movement is detected at distances up to 20 feet (6 meters) away.
The skunks will feel the impact of the water pressure and panic, and if they dare to return, they will associate the presence of the sprinkler with danger and move away.
Ricin oil is an effective alternative.
This oil is very effective in stopping skunks from visiting your home, although it is a substance that can bring many health benefits to humans, it does not do so with animals.
The effects of this oil on skunks are not lethal enough to cause their death, but it does produce discomfort in their bodies, such as itching, and they dislike its bitter smell, so they will stop frequenting the areas where they are with this compound.
The way to apply it is by mixing it with dishwashing soap and water. To prepare a highly effective solution, pour 8 ounces of ricin oil into a container, add 8 ounces of dishwashing soap and a gallon of water, mix well, and pack it in a container with an atomizer.
With this mixture make a sufficient spray in the yard, garden, shed, attic, and look for the probable burrows, spraying the liquid abundantly, this operation must be repeated frequently to optimize the effect of the substance.
This alternative must be handled with caution, several aspects must be taken into account, the first one is not to cause damage to the animal, it must be verified that it is not a female that has young, since if the mother is captured, these would most probably die of starvation.
On the other hand, handling this animal, even if it is caged, will represent risks such as being sprayed by its pestilent defense mechanism.
A variety of skunk traps are available in the market, they are equipped with springs to close the door once the skunk is inside. It is necessary to act without cruelty, checking the trap at least twice a day, with this, the animal will not spend a long time captured without access to food and drink.
The trap must contain in its interior something that attracts the skunk, it can be cat food, sardines, chicken meat, and bird eggs, the ideal is that it has an odor with the capacity to attract the animal.
This trap should be located in a place where the skunks pass through, this will guarantee that they can smell the bait and enter the trap.
Expert Tip: Once you have captured the skunk, the smartest decision is to contact the wildlife managers in the area where you live, they have experts who will know how and where to release the animal without danger.
There are other ways to catch them, such as making a homemade trap using a trash can and a wooden strip, which will serve as a ramp for the skunk to climb up it in search of bait, this should be placed at the entrance of the boat, this way the animal will fall into the boat and will not be able to get out of there.
Once captured, you must cover the boat and use the same procedure as above to release it into the wild.
Building a fence around the property can be an efficient option to get rid of skunks, these animals have difficulty climbing, and their forte is digging, that is why the fence must comply with the following characteristics:
- The depth of each element of the fence must have a minimum depth of 65 cm from the ground level, this way when the skunk digs it will encounter the obstacle and will desist in the attempt to access the property.
- Starting from the ground, it must have a minimum height of 1.20 m (4 ft).
- The lower part of the fence pieces should complicate even more the entrance of the skunks, they should end in the depth with an outward bend.
- Between the pieces of the fence, there should be no gaps, they should be very close to each other.
- The buried part of the fence can be reinforced with wire mesh to make it more effective.
Thinking about how to get rid of skunks, is not just any job, since they are stubborn and persistent animals, the combination of the different alternatives that we have presented can be a success to keep them away from the home.
And once they are gone, it will be of great effectiveness to maintain some of these options to guarantee that they will not come back.