How to get rid of skunks? (Humanely)
Skunks can be a huge nuisance when they decide to make themselves comfortable in your yard. They forage in gardens and rubbish, dig holes in an attempt to feast on insects, and for poultry owners, they pose a threat to chickens and their eggs. These creatures may dig under your house as well, thus causing damage to your home and its wiring. When deciding how to get rid of skunks on your property, you need to understand that there’s a risk of being sprayed, therefore plan accordingly. The following tips can be used to get rid of these animals humanely.
Eliminate Food Sources
Remove any sources of food around your yard. These include pet food bowls, fallen fruits from fruit trees, or low-hanging bird feeders. Secure feeders to make sure they can’t be overturned, and practice due diligence in cleaning up any spilled seed. When experiencing skunk problems, it is best to either feed your pets indoors or clean up all traces of leftovers as soon as feeding time is over. You should avoid putting kitchen scraps in your compost pit and keep it well covered until you no longer experience these pests. It is also important to mow your lawn because skunks love insects that live in lush grass. Cutting off all possible food sources is necessary to starve these critters and send them packing to search for greener pastures.
Use Sound or Ultrasonic Repellents
When you find the skunk den, you can put a radio in it and disturb their peace, causing them to flee. However, this may be a source of disturbance for you and your neighbors. A better alternative is to use high-frequency ultrasonic repellents which can only be heard by these animals. The noise will irritate the skunks and send them packing.
Protect Your Waste
Skunks are known for scavenging in trash cans and can survive on garbage alone. It is therefore necessary to keep your trash cans properly sealed with tight-fitting, locking lids. If possible, you should store your garbage bins in an enclosed place at night so that their smells don’t attract skunks. The ones that live around your property will soon be starved when they run out of food from your garbage, therefore leaving them no choice but to vacate.
Liquid and Granular Skunk Repellents
Skunks have a very strong sense of smell which they use to locate food. Olfactory repellents attempt to use the skunks’ sense of smell against them by filling the atmosphere with odors that are repugnant to skunks. You can sprinkle or spray the repellent around your property and in known skunk dens. Commercial skunk repellents are available in stores and online but you can make it at home with the right ingredients. However, if they are not irritable enough to the skunks, it may not be as effective. Homemade repellents come with the responsibility of frequent applications. This is because elements such as rain and wind easily wear down on their scent and taste due to their mild ingredients. You can make a homemade repellent using a mixture of hot peppers, onion, jalapeno, cayenne pepper, and water. Boil for a few minutes then strain and pour inside a spray bottle and you’re good to go! Each dose should last up to 5 days.
Predator urine can work as well, including the urine of your pets (if you’re somehow able to collect it). You can also purchase it in stores around your area. The downside to using it is that it requires reapplication every 24 hours and can easily be washed away when it rains. Ammonia can also be used by soaking rags in buckets filled with the chemical and placing them around the perimeter of your yard.
Electronic Skunk Repellents
The motion detector sprinkler is an effective repellent because it conditions the skunks to fear, thus deterring them from your property. It senses the heat and motion of these pests. Once detected, the sprinkler sprays a burst of water while creating a “ticking” sound which startles the animal. This will make the skunks reluctant to venture back into your property. An electronic yard protector can also be used to repel these creatures. It generates powerful ultrasonic sound waves which creates a very high pitch, high sound pressure environment that is incredibly uncomfortable and annoying to animals. The sound is inaudible to humans and can be tuned specifically for the type of animal you want to get rid of by adjusting the knob at the back of the unit.
Skunks are nocturnal and shy away from bright lights. Placing lights around your property will make it less appealing to these animals. Predator deterrent lights are designed to scare away nocturnal animals by mimicking another predator’s eyes. They emit powerful LED lights that have visibility capabilities for up to half a mile. Since the lights will be on all night, consider using energy-saving or solar lighting to minimize the cost of electricity bills. You could also install a motion sensor that is activated when a skunk nears its proximity.
Before planning to trap a skunk, ensure that it’s legal to do so in your area. In some instances, you may need to seek the help of a professional trapper. While it may be relatively easy to trap a skunk, the risk of them spraying requires some special care. The ideal size of the trap should be large enough for them to move somewhat comfortably, but small enough to deter them from lifting their tail high enough to spray. Spring-loaded traps are used to lure the skunk inside with bait then close the door behind it so as to prevent escape. You can use peanut butter, canned sardines, cat food, or other strong-scented foods to bait the trap. Place it near the skunk’s access route to your property or its den. Once trapped, carry the animal away from your property and set it free in the woods or an open wild area. While transporting it, ensure that you take careful steps to avoid making the skunk feel threatened, thus spraying. When releasing it, ensure your face is positioned away from the exit door of the trap to avoid being sprayed.
How to Trap a SKUNK?
Skunks are naturally cautious animals; therefore, it is important to ensure that the trap is not too outstanding. The creature may not go in if the trap looks like a human addition to the scenery. You can use several precautions such as washing the trap with warm water to remove any human scent on it. The best traps for skunks are about 25-35 inches long. They should be big enough so that the skunk can move around somewhat comfortably, but not high enough to let it raise its tail to spray. It is unlikely for it to spray when it can’t lift its tail high up.
Type of Trap
When trapping a skunk, it is important to ensure that the trap is well covered because they spray if they see you. You can use polythene panels which are hinged to fit over the sides and top of the trap. Most style traps require you to manually lift and hold open the door in order to release the skunk. Unless you are a professional, Havahart recommends using a type of trap that has a lever at the back of the trap to open the door. This mechanism ensures that you are fully clear of the door, thus fewer chances of getting sprayed.
As scavengers, skunks usually depend on their keen sense of smell when trying to find food sources. This means that you should use strong scented foods in order to draw the animal in. The most effective baits are known to be meat-based such as tuna, raw chicken entrails, cat food, and sardines, among others. If you run the risk of trapping a cat instead, you could use sweeter treats such as bread coated with peanut butter or marshmallows. The bait has to be positioned in a way that lures the skunk all the way inside and encourages it to step on the trigger plate of the trap.
When determining trap placement, you should consider areas where you’ve seen the most skunk damage or where it frequents. Usually, people seem to have problems with them going under decks, porches, sheds, and the like. If you are able to pinpoint your skunk’s den, place your trap 5-10 feet from the entrance. Position it on an even surface to ensure stability because skunks are strong animals and can tip over the trap if they see it as a hindrance to getting food or shelter. If the skunk isn’t taking residence in your yard but is gaining access to your property through a hole in the fence, you could simply place the trap over the hole and wait for the skunk to be entrapped.
Since skunks are nocturnal, you should set your trap in the evening or at dusk. If the cage is empty the next morning, you should close it so as not to trap any unwanted critters, and then set it again in the evening. It is necessary to check the trap often to ensure that the skunk doesn’t remain trapped for long as it can be detrimental to its health. To release a trapped skunk, stand more than 20 feet away and release the trap door using a string or fishing line.