Skunk Damage Control

Mephitis nigra

We are fully aware of the odor problems, the lawn damage,  the fact that they are walking through your lawn. Scroll down the links below and find information on a variety of skunk problems and how to resolve them. Of course, when push comes to shove, few methods resolve problems like actual population control.Skunk populations fluctuate from year to year. Skunk populations change according to diseases like rabies and distemper, weather and food supply. So be prepared and if you happen to see a skunk one night, take a few moments (from a safe distance) and observe this remarkable creature.

Urban and suburban settings. Very much at home under sheds, porches, and in old woodchuck dens.

Damage

Deodorizing Skunk Smell Skunk Odor

 

 

Skunk Damage:

Skunks frequently fall into window wells and become trapped. Don't think that the skunk is living there. He is most likely wishing he could get out. You have a couple of options. First, lay a flat board at least 5 inches wide into the window well. If the angle is low enough, the skunk may be able to climb out. If after a day or so the skunk doesn't leave, then you will have to either set a trap or have a professional physically remove it with tongs.Of course the best action is to prevent this situation from happening in the first place. For information on how to prevent skunks from entrapment in window wells click window wells.

 

Skunks love to live under sheds and porches. They provide excellent rain and animal protection. Unfortunately, there are very few things that will effectively, 100% of the time, drive skunks out from under your shed or deck. If you would like some ideas on how to evict skunks without trapping click hints on harassment.Fortunately, skunks can be easily stopped before they get to your shed or deck or porch. If you would like to prevent skunks from taking residence or are unfortunate enough to have to prevent future occurrences then you will need to do one of the following.

 

 

 

 

Landscape Damage

Skunks feed on a variety of foods. They have been known to eat, bird seed, eggs, crickets, grasshoppers, mice, chickens, carrion and yes grubs. You can tell when a skunk has been grubbing your lawn when you see dime sized holes cut through the sod. It seems the skunk can smell the exact location of the grub, use its sharp claws and dig right to it. I have seen yards where the skunks systematically grubbed it section by section. Since grubbing occurs in July and August, chances are you will see more than one. Females will be teaching their young how to hunt during this time. If you spray your lawn for grubs after the skunks have already discovered them, donít be surprised if the digging continues for up to two weeks. The best course of action is to prevent the grubs in the first place.

There are no magic formulas to stop skunks from grubbing your lawn. But if you are determined to do something here are a few ideas

  1. Fence your lawn to prevent skunks from entering. Ideally it should be trench screened so the skunks can't dig underneath. Yes it is expensive and time consuming but it does work.(See a diagram of how that should look by clicking (prevention_strategies)
  2. Lay hardware cloth over the lawn. Mesh size should be no greater than 1/4 inch. Will this also kill some of your grass? Yes. But it will certainly make it hard for the skunks to dig up your lawn.
  3. Trap them with a box trap. We have traps that allow you to approach the skunk without being sprayed. Average cost is 54.95 dollars plus shipping and handling. Shipping is free to the greater Springfield MA area. Visit our page on Traps for Sale

Here are some ideas that probably won't work:

  1. Getting a dog to scare them away. Skunks are not afraid of much. Chances are your dog will have to kill them and suffer the inevitable consequences.
  2. Adding more grub poison than the manufacturer recommendations. It is a common trait of people to think that adding more automatically means more in the sense of effects. Don't bother. Properly treated lawns will still suffer from grubbing skunks for up to two weeks after treatment. Besides I thought we were to care for the environment?
  3. There are no chemicals that we are aware of that will repel skunks from your property including mothballs. We kindly suggest, don't waste your time or your money.
  4. Radios. If the skunks were afraid of noises they would have left suburbia.
  5. Lights. Ditto the above statement.

Q. Will the skunk lawn damage end on its own?

A. Yes. When one or more of the following situations occurs.

  1. The skunks die.
  2. The grubs are gone from your yard.
  3. The grubs have crawled too deep in the soil to be dug up.

Diseases-

Skunks frequently contract rabies and distemper. These are the two most notable diseases that afflict skunks.

Etiquette

How to meet Mr. Skunk and Still Smell Good

  1. Don't surprise them! If you don't like to be startled then imagine how skunks feel when they get surprised by some 150 pound two legged creature. If you know skunks are around your area be cautious. Turn on outside lights. Make noise while walking to your car so that they know you are coming.
  2. If skunks hang around your door preventing you from entering, believe it or not I have received at least one phone call regarding this, then try to use the back door. If that is impossible get a garden hose and send some artificial rain on them. This should allow you to spray them at a safe distance as well as encourage the skunks to move on.
  3. If you are box trapping for another animal like a woodchuck or squirrel (or an animal that only walks around in the daylight), make sure you close your trap before nightfall so that you won't catch Mr. skunk that night.

Skunks in the News

Rabid Skunks Bite Two in Mass. c The Associated Press WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) AP-NY-10-20-99 2014EDT

The skunks were found to be rabid. They bit a sickly man and a small child.

 

skunk trapping booklet                                           special skunk trap                                          skunk baits

 
 

 

 

Disclaimer: WDC seeks to provide accurate, effective and responsible information on resolving human/wildlife conflicts. We welcome suggestions, criticisms to help us achieve this goal. The information provided is for informational purposes only and users of the information use it at their own risk. The reader must consult state/federal officials to determine the legality of any technique in the reader's locale. Some techniques are dangerous to the user and to others. WDC encourages readers to obtain appropriate training (see our informational literature at our Store ), and understand that proper animal damage control involves patience, understanding that not every technique/method works for every situation or even 100% of the time. Your use of this information is governed by this understanding. We welcome potential users of the information and photos to simply ask for permission via e-mail. Finally, WDC welcomes e-mail but understand that all e-mails become property of Wildlife Damage Control.