There are days when we like to take a break from daily activities and relax. We may watch television, play sports, sleep or just have a good time in the backyard with barbeque and beer. Whatever we prefer, these are the times we don’t like to be disturbed. So, imagine sitting in your backyard and finding weird holes all around it. You may initially pass this off as some burrowing animal but can you be certain it isn’t something else?
Can they be skunks?
Skunks are animals we are all familiar with, and ones we would prefer not to encounter! So, how can you be sure that you don’t have a skunk problem? Skunks are burrowers and so the first telltale sign is the appearance of holes in your yard. Other ways of confirming this are to check if your garbage bins are knocked down or if you start smelling something really pungent – that would be skunk odor. Another way is to check for their feces, that is usually two inches long, half an inch wide and may contain the remains of insects.
Why Do Skunks Invade Gardens and Backyards?
None of us would want to deal with skunks, but if there isn’t another option, it is time to get to work. However, before you can go about your business as an exterminator, it’s good to know how they got there. You would want to know this because you’d be happier not having them around again. It is always good to learn from your mistakes.
Skunks are opportunity seekers. They would rather take the easy route to finding food rather than fight for it. Furthermore, these creatures just love insects, which is why they dig to find some. So, if your neighborhood is known for having skunks, then you need to saddle up and prepare to wage war because removing skunks may involve a lot more than you think.
Now is the time to tell you how to get rid of your skunk problem. However, we aren’t murderers, hence we shall see how to trap skunks without killing them or without considering skunk eradication/extermination.
11 natural and safe methods that are effective in removing skunks
Take the scavengers food out
Remember, skunks are scavengers, so they will hunt out food that is easy to get by any means necessary. They may be horrible climbers, but what they lack in climbing, they make up for in digging. So, if you have fruit bushes in your backyard then you need to be ready. Apart from fruits, even garbage, pet food, and birdseeds are something they consider delicacies. So, if you want to keep it away, you need to cut its food supply.
Protect the skunk’s food, from the skunk
The skunk usually smells its food and comes hunting. That is actually the best way to trap them too. However, in order to protect your yard, what will your defense be against this? Lock up the food nice and tight. Keep your garbage disposal bin locked up by making sure that the lid isn’t loose. Another thing you can consider is to place your garbage in a place such that it doesn’t topple over.
Since their other food choices include pet food and bird seeds, try and keep these from falling to the ground in your yard. Remember, the more careless you are with cleaning up, the more you are at risk of a skunk attack.
Seek out and seal its hiding spots
Skunks are nocturnal and thus, will naturally choose dark hiding spots. Therefore, skunks can be found under a shed, in the garden, the house, in your property or even indoors. However, they also like to make their homes under decks, porches and other places that provide shelter. Now that we know where they’re found, your task is to close off these places and to make sure they’re sealed tight.
This can be done by using fences to surround the entire area, or you could use play wood to block out hols and potential burrows. The key would be to find the possible entry and exit points of the skunk. This wouldn’t be toohard but would require diligence. Recent signs of entry can be spotted and a little flour test wouldn’t do any harm. Just sprinkle a little four around the suspected areas and if there are footprints leading to or from the spot, you’ve hit the jackpot.
Light the place up
We aren’t asking you to set the place on fire. But we do want you to brighten the backyard. Since skunks are nocturnal, they like, infact, love the dark, making light their kryptonite. As a natural repellent, bright light can be very irritating to the skunks, and so they proactively avoid well-lit areas. Therefore, if you install lights in your backyard, there is a high chance you get to bid goodbye to the skunks.
As an alternative, you could also install motion sensor activated lights. The name speaks for itself really. Installing these lights is a great way to catch the skunks. The light detectors sense skunks moment and switch the lights on. This scare should be enough to send the creature packing.
The Urine of a predator
An animal usually marks its territory by going about its business (urinating to delineate the area). When other animals get the smell of this, they know that they have entered another animal’s territory. Skunks can also smell another animal’s urine and hence this is the most naturally effective way to keep them away. Find a way to collect dog urine and spray it around the parameter of your yard. Since dogs are skunk predators, the skunks will be wary of this and many times would rather avoid conflict.
The properties of pepper are very interesting and its smell is heavily disliked by skunks. Therefore, a natural home remedy that works in the battle against skunks is cayenne pepper. If you have a skunk around the house then spraying the pepper around its den or anywhere you might think it has been or will return to, is a great way to keep skunks away naturally. Some even use mothballs to help with removing skunks. Basically, they place these balls in strategic locations around their backyards and eventually find them retreating in battle.
Ammonia is a natural skunk repellent. Just soak old rags or cotton balls in ammonia and place these soaked clothes near their den. The odor of ammonia from these clothes is sure to act favorably is your answer to the eternal ‘how to get rid of skunks’ question. There are many smells these creatures can tolerate or simply ignore, but the smell of ammonia is not among them.
Do you have water sprinklers?
Skunks hate getting wet and would prefer avoiding this at all costs. Having sprinklers on at certain times of the day may not be as effective as you think. These creatures are smart and might just enter your yard when the sprinklers are off. The best way go about this is by using motion detectors. Once the motion is captured, the sprinkler goes off and then, the creature’s only option is to run away.
Fence up your wall
Another great way to make sure you control skunk population in your yard is by putting up a fence. Skunks hate climbing and as such are horrible climbers, however, they like to dig. So, if you are thinking about putting a fence, then make sure that its foundations are atleast three feet deep. They also like to fit into tiny places, so remember to not have too much space between each beam of wood.
Trap that skunk
Trapping is a great way when it comes to removing skunks. All it takes is the right kind of food, i.e. berries, pet food or any other food with a strong smell. Keep this food in the spring-loaded trap and voila, your garden’s invader has been caught! After you’ve caught it, all you need to do it take it as far away from your neighborhood and leave it there.
Call the fuzz
The “fuzz” in this case, as opposed to the cops, would be pest control. This is, of course, the best way to get rid of skunks. Call in the trained professionals and let them do their job and soon enough, you will not have to worry about removing skunks yourself.
How to remove skunk smell from your house
The problem with skunks isn’t their presence but rather what they do to make their presence felt. A defense mechanism of stinky proportions is present within their rectum and they use it as a last resort. Their spray is firstly potent and secondly can temporarily cause blindness. So, now that we know how to get rid of skunks, it’s important to know the remedies for skunk odor.
Skunks can spray your home, your clothes, your pets. Among other things skunk smell can be found in your garage, your car and many other things. Therefore, it is important that you know the right way to get rid of the stink. This is due to the fact that if action isn’t taken then the smell could last for several months to years. So, here are a few great home remedies for skunk stink.
Vinegar has a strong smell that can be dealt with when compared to the skunk’s stinky spray. Typically, 1 part vinegar and 4 parts warm water mixed into a large bucket should do the trick. However, the precise amount really depends on how much you have to clean. This solution works great to remove stench from clothes, blankets, towels and other fabrics. That said, it is good to remember that synthetic fabrics don’t fair well with vinegar.
You will need to soak your contaminated clothes inside this solution and leave it be for two to three hours. This is enough time for the vinegar to sink into the clothes and start to show results. Using your hands to scrub the clothes works great as by doing this, you ensure that vinegar seeps into the clothes and deodorizes it. Make sure you do this within an hour or two after contamination.
To ensure that the stick has reduced considerably, put the clothes in the washing machine after they’ve completed their bath in the vinegar solution. You can wash them in a standard warm wash cycle and then dry it out in the sun. Vinegar can be put in bowls and placed around the house if the exact source of the stenchisn’t identified. If you have pets, then place the vinegar sufficiently out of their reach.
Let the air circulate
Closing the windows and doors is the worst thing that you can do at such times. The last thing you want is to be trapped in a room with skunk smell. So, opening the windows ensures fresh air comes in, and secondly lets sunlight into the room. Sunrays are great for removing stench; just ask all those people who hang their clothes out to dry.
Another important thing to remember is to clean out the air filters from your airconditioners and air heaters. This is important because these filters grab hold of the smell, so to speak, and every time you switch them on, you experience hell. That is not something we want, so changing them is your best option.
Using deodorizing agents is also a great option. Choose these agents carefully and make sure they deodorize; otherwise, all you’re doing is masking the skunk’s smell, sooner or later that is going to backfire.
HP and BS – (Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda)
Hydrogen peroxide is a great deodorizing agent and works really well with baking soda. Above all else, these chemicals, used together, do not have a negative effect on human skin and pet fur. The solution goes this way; add 1 litter hydrogen peroxide with 1/4th cup of baking soda and 1 tsp laundry detergent, and mix them up. Make sure you don’t close the container they’re in, otherwise it could get explosive. Also don’t store the mixture; use it up as soon as possible.
This helps remove skunk odor from your skin and the fur of your pets. Soak a clean washcloth in the solution and use it to clean the affected area. It is important to note that this solution shouldn’t enter your eyes, nose or ears. Let the solution rest on the skin or fur for about five minutes and then rinse with clean water.
Hydrogen can also be mixed with wate; this serves as a diluted form of the above solution. This concoction can be used to clean clothes and other fabrics. Another easy way is by simply adding baking soda for your next wash.
Add some bleach to the mix
Bleach is another great deodorizing chemical and can work really well as a skunk smell removal agent. You will first need to dilute 1 cup or 250 ml of bleach with 1 gallon or 4 liters of warm water. Once done, add this mix in a container. Bleach works well as a stand-alone chemical; adding other chemicals to it can make it explosive. Remember to never work with bleach in a closed room.
This solution works great on hard surfaces like kitchen floors, cars, car tires and other such areas. You will need to protect your hands while using this solution so you can consider wearing rubber gloves. Also, do not use this solution to clean fabrics of any kind. Wash the malodourous surface or article with warm water and rinse until you’re satisfied that the smell is gone or significantly reduced.
Now that we’re done with diiscussing skunk-removal methods, let’s address an important question.
Are skunks bad animals?
Just because this article deals mainly with ways to remove or get rid of skunks doesn’t mean they aren’t loveable creatures. In reality, skunks make great pets, of course, after they are vaccinated and their sacks are emptied. So, don’t go off writing these creatures as harmful to the environment and treat them poorly. Many people prefer to kill these creatures as opposed to removing them safely. However, we urge you to try out the safe removal and capture based methods, instead of looking for ways to eliminatre them.
There are many ways you can use to remove a skunk from your home without actually causing harm to them. A point to remember would be to take the skunk as far away from your neighborhood as possible. Once you trap a skunk, don’t just leave it in another place in your neighborhood as this would be a problem to others.
After the skunk problem has passed your home, make sure to remember all the reasons why the little fellow got there in the first place. Seal off any entryways, make sure to securely cover the garbage bins and find ways to not let dog food or bird feed fall in the yard. For a start, these should help you avoid skunks from visiting your yard at all costs.