Outdoor Federation

How to Deter Skunks Away

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Skunks are notorious for their unpleasant odor. They also carry diseases such as rabies and salmonella. If you live near a wooded area, you may want to keep an eye out for these animals in the wild. However, if they have made your yard or home their territory, there is no need to worry about them anymore as we will be discussing how to keep skunks away.

What Kind of Animal Is a Skunk?

Skunks are shy, intelligent and adorable creatures but not when they spray. Adult skunks grow to about 22-30 inches and 8-12 pounds. Skunks are primarily nocturnal. All skunks are omnivores, and will feed on almost anything, including small rodents, worms, insects, grubs, carrion, fruit, garbage, and pet food left outdoors.

Because of the powerful odor, and fear of being sprayed it may be difficult for some people to tolerate smelly creatures living under a deck or old shed. However, skunks need such shelter when they are most vulnerable. These nocturnal forages can dig holes on your property while looking for food. If you have odor, lawn damage and upturned plants caused by skunks near the house, chances are you’d like to keep the skunks away.

The following information is going to become your helping hand in finding the best methods to remove skunks. Wild skunks are timid creatures, but will bite, scratch, or spray when provoked. This raises the risk of Leptospirosis, bacteria found in stagnant water. Your pets are also at risk of distemper if bitten.

Why Do Skunks Appear on Your Property?

Skunks don’t have a huge feeding range – if one is hanging about your property there is a good chance its finding food there. Keep pet food, animal feed, and bird seed in chew-proof containers and safely housed at night. Skunks also love lazy gardeners – fallen fruits, nuts, or veggies are like chum in the water.

And if you’re finding holes and dig marks on your lawn, the skunks are after one of their favorite foods: grubs and other subterranean insects. Are you thinking that you may have skunks visiting your yard quite frequently and turning it into a mess? Well, there’s a few ways that you can tell and the most obvious one is the smell.

A skunk has an intense smell unlike anything you’ve ever smelled before. People can often detect a single road killed skunk for miles. No homeowner appreciates this scent under their deck.

How to Identify a Skunk?

Credit: Wikipedia

Skunks are easy to recognize with their bold black and white coloring. While most animals prefer camouflage, a skunk’s distinctive coloration serves as a warning of its potent attack. Using special glands below the tail, skunks can spray their powerful scent up to 15 feet. This scent burns an attacker’s eyes, and causes temporary blindness. Of course, the stench is too much for most animals to bear, and serves as a strong warning against future attacks.

Ways to Keep Skunks Away

Even if you have driven a skunk from under structures on your property, they may still be entering your yard and causing problems. Further precautions are necessary to keep your residence skunk-free. this may be done through one or more of the following methods:

Predator Urine

Skunk deterrents are sold commercially and most of them are based on fox and dog urine as they are major predators of the skunk. These products come in liquid or granule form and may require mixing with other ingredients. However, these predator urine based products do not exactly have a great track record in repelling skunk. If you can source it, straight dog urine has a slightly better chance.

Credit: gunssavelife.com

Pepper Sprays

Pepper sprays are believed to deter skunk and other wildlife. Spray them on trees and other areas where you’ve sighted the traces of a skunk This method works best when used around dusk and dawn hours. The spray should be applied directly onto the area where the tracks were found. It is important to note that pepper spray only repels animals; it doesn’t kill them. In addition, it must be sprayed directly onto the target area. Do not spray near windows or doors because it could cause harm to people inside.

Use of Ammonia

Ammonia is reputed to work in repelling most wildlife due to its pungent smell. Placed old rags dipped in ammonia under your deck or porch to keep skunks out. Ammonia is particularly distressing to the eyes and nose of wildlife and has a better chance at being effective when applied in an enclosed space.

Citrus Peels

Have natural repellent qualities. Scatter orange or lemon peels around your property and under your deck or porch.

Skunk Deterrent Lights

If all else fails, try using lights. They work well against many pests including rodents, birds, bats, snakes, and even deer. The light should shine directly onto the area where the skunk was seen. This method works best when used during dusk and dawn hours.

Motion Activated Sprinklers

These are placed out in the yard and working with a motion sensor, would spray any animal that passes with water. This is meant to startle them into running away.

Ultrasonic Skunk Repellent

This device emits high frequency sound waves that cause discomfort to animals such as skunks. It works best when used near the entrance of the house. The device should be set up so that it only activates once every 10 minutes.

When to Call a Professional to Get Rid of Skunks?

There are times when you need help getting rid of skunks. You might want to consider calling a pest control company who will use humane techniques to remove the problem. There are some companies which specialize in removing skunks without harming them.

The first thing you must know is how much damage the skunks are doing to your home. Do you see signs of droppings around your garage door, windowsills, etc.? Is there evidence of digging going on underneath your foundation? Are there holes dug by the skunks? If yes, then you definitely need to hire a professional exterminator.

The next step is to determine whether the skunks are coming inside your home. If you find tracks leading towards your kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, basement, attic, crawl space, porch, shed, garage, or anywhere else within your home, then you need to contact a professional immediately.

How Do You Get Rid of Skunk Smell?

You don’t really need to worry about getting rid of skunk odor if you live in an apartment complex because the building management usually takes care of the issue for you. But if you own a single family home, you’ll probably have to take matters into your hands yourself. Here’s what you can do:

Clean everything thoroughly. Remove anything from the flooring that could hold odors like rugs, carpets, furniture, curtains, bedding, towels, clothing, shoes, toys, books, magazines, trash cans, pet food bowls, garbage bags, etc.

Vacuum the entire house. Use a vacuum cleaner attachment to suck up dirt and debris. Make sure to clean under beds, couches, chairs, tables, dressers, shelves, cabinets, closets, and drawers. Also make sure to clean behind appliances, sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, mirrors, faucet handles, and shower doors.

Wash down walls and ceilings. Wipe off surfaces with damp cloths. Don’t forget to wash all baseboards, moldings, window frames, trim, floors, countertops, ceiling fans, air vents, pipes, electrical outlets, switches, fixtures, and other areas that may harbor smells.

Disinfect items that cannot be cleaned. Spray disinfectant on carpet fibers, fabrics, woodwork, metal work, glass, tile, linoleum, plastic, leather, rubber, paper products, and other materials that cannot be washed.

How to Know if the Skunk Is Rabid?

Skunks rarely bite people unless they feel threatened. They also tend to avoid humans. So, even though you’ve seen a skunk acting strangely before, chances are good that it isn’t rabid However, if you’re concerned about rabies, call animal control services right away.

Rabid animals pose serious health risks to both pets and human beings. The best way to protect against this risk is to report any wild animal sightings as soon as possible so that authorities can investigate further.


In all, the only way to really keep the skunk out of your property is to remove all traces of food and to proof your building by blocking all possible entry points as well as shelter options for the skunk. While skunks are generally harmless creatures, it’s best not to get too close to them. You risk getting a dose of their noxious spray, or worse, a bite from skunk carrying rabies.

Skunks make themselves at home in many environments, including in and around people’s homes. If you’ve got these unwelcome guests in your yard and you’d like to keep them out without risking harm to your pets, change the environment to make it less comfortable and less accessible for skunks. They’re more likely to go elsewhere than to visit a yard that is hard to get to and has no food, leaving the environment safe for your pets and skunk-free.

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