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How to Get Rid of Skunks

how to get rid of skunks

Learn how to get rid of skunks naturally using efficient tips and cost-effective skunk control products.

Skunks are shy, intelligent, and adorable creatures, but not when they spray. Some people may not be able to tolerate smelly creatures living under decks or sheds due to the strong odor and fear of being sprayed by a skunk.

However, skunks need such shelter when they are most vulnerable. These nocturnal forages can dig holes on your property while looking for food sources. If you have an odor, lawn damage, and upturned plants caused by skunks near the house, chances are you would like to remove skunks.

The following information will be your helping hand in finding the best skunk removal methods.

Skunk Problems

Problems with skunks in your yardDiet: Do skunks eat tomatoes? Yes, they can eat tomatoes. In fact, skunks change their diet as the seasons change. These mammals eat both plant and animal material – insects, small rodents, eggs, rats – and even human garbage.

Problems: Skunks are beneficial to farmers because they eat a lot of garden and agricultural pests – white grubs, moles, cutworms, etc. However, a skunk-sprayed-under-house problem is not fun.

Nearly all skunks live in the Americas.

What Do Skunks Look Like?

Skunks are mammals, and they come in two varieties: the striped skunks and the spotted skunks. Skunks are nocturnal, which means they’re active at night. They’re also omnivorous, which means they’ll eat just about anything. Skunks have a distinctive odor that’s caused by their glands, which release a smelly liquid when the skunks feel threatened.

  • Striped skunks
    The striped skunks are the most common type of skunks. They’re about the size of a house cat, and they have black and white stripes running down their backs. Striped skunks are found all over North America, and they live in a variety of habitats, from forests to deserts. Striped skunks are solitary animals, and they only come together to mate.
    Striped skunk

  • Spotted skunks
    The spotted skunks are also a common type of skunks. They’re about the size of a house cat, and they have black and white spots all over their bodies. Spotted skunks are found in the eastern and central parts of the United States, as well as in Mexico. They live in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and scrublands. Like the striped skunk, the spotted skunk is solitary, and they only come together to mate.
    Spotted skunk

Skunks are considered pests in many areas because they dig up lawns and flower gardens, raid garbage cans for food, fouling the area with their scent.

When skunk’s burrowing and feeding habits conflict with people these rodents become nuisances. People can experience the following problems with skunks:

  • Skunks may burrow under buildings or porches by entering openings under the foundation;
  • They can kill poultry and eat eggs;

  • Skunks can dig holes in golf courses, lawns and gardens in search of insect grubs;
  • Skunks can spray.

Skunk spray is a smelly blend of sulfurous oils that can cause partial blindness and sting the skin. Pets can often get sprayed by a skunk who has taken up residence in your yard. Skunk sprays have a lasting smell that can linger on clothes and other fabrics long after you’ve cleaned them away. Don’t know how to remove the skunk smell and get your house smelling fresh again? Get an answer here.

It’s best to avoid getting sprayed at all costs!

The most common way people get skunked is when they’re taking out the trash or walking by an open garbage bin outside late at night. Skunks will also occasionally enter homes if doors or windows aren’t properly shut against them. Skunks tend to be nocturnal animals but sometimes venture into human living spaces during daytime hours as well; this happens more often around mating seasons which occur from February through March.

If a skunk is spotted in your area, don’t approach it or try to scare the animal away on your own: there’s no way of knowing how the skunk will react when startled! It could spray you if it feels threatened enough and has been known to use its weapons even after being hit by cars.

Contact wildlife removal experts for help with getting rid of these pests. Most specialists offer free estimates about what needs to be done so that you can decide whether or not you want them to come out and handle your problem.

So let’s find out how to keep skunks away under the house, shed, and around your home.


How to Keep Skunks Away: Top 5 Effective Methods You Deserve to Know

Once you know the skunk activity around your house or in your yard, you can select the best skunk control method. You may choose to adopt more than one method depending on the size of the skunk population in the area and the type of damage caused.

The more methods you use, the more likely you will find success. Don’t know how to keep skunks out of your yard? Here is how.

STEP 1. Add Light

Step 1: STEP 1. Add LightSkunks detest the lights and prefer to stay away from highly lit locations. Adding light in your yard is an effective deterrent - skunks like a dark location – that can keep smelly rodents from choosing your backyard as a nesting ground.

STEP 2. Seal Holes

Step 2: STEP 2. Seal HolesGetting rid of skunks under the house, deck, and yard is not an easy-to-do task as these are prime locations for skunks to nest. You are to make sure any open spaces in these areas are sealed. Using solid-metal flash wire and quarter-inch screening are effective ways to cover the holes.

STEP 3. Reduce Attractants

Step 3: STEP 3. Reduce AttractantsEnsure your yard has no skunk attractants - pet food, garbage bags, water bowls, leftover vegetables, fruits, etc. These will not only attract skunks but other wildlife as well.

STEP 4. Place Motion-Activated Sprinkles

Step 4: STEP 4. Place Motion-Activated SprinklesThese products are a safe and natural way to keep smelly mammals away from your property. Place sprinklers close to locations where you suspect skunks might want to shelter.

To find out the best motion-activated sprinkler, go here.

STEP 5. Repel Them Off

Step 5: STEP 5. Repel Them OffNaturally, solve your skunk problem using effective repellents. Repellents made of active, natural ingredients work together to irritate and repel skunks as soon as they taste, smell, or touch the products.

Don’t know what type of repellent to choose for effective skunk control? Get the latest info on the best skunk repellent and deterrent products and crack your skunks’ problems right now!

How to Kill Skunks? Is Shooting Effective?

In my experience, shooting a skunk almost always causes a rodent to spray. Therefore, it is not recommended unless in the location where the skunk smell will not be troublesome. Shooting skunks near homes/structures is illegal in urban areas of Illinois. Moreover, the only time you can set lethal traps for skunks is in November and December.

The use of lethal trapping to kill skunks is illegal in certain areas or during certain seasons of the year.
Set-for-skunks lethal traps can kill other beneficial wild animals and pets.

What about gassing? Lethal gassing of skunk burrows can be used in some states like California, for example. However, gassing skunks near structures/buildings exposes people and pets to risks.

Methods of skunks killing

When it comes to skunk poison, it’s illegal and comes with many risks. Remember, the use of skunk poison is an inhumane way of skunk removal.

The best tactic is to get rid of skunks naturally by trapping and relocating the rodent alive. It is much easier than it sounds, and skunk sprays are extremely rare.

Trapping: Best Way to Get Rid of Skunks

Skunks trappingWant to remove a skunk from your property by humane methods? Using a live skunk trap is the best solution. But, how to trap this pesky rodent without getting sprayed by a skunk? These smelly creatures are less inclined to spray if they don’t see you and if they have an unobstructed, open escape route. When skunks don’t feel threatened, they prefer to escape rather than spray.

Trap and release a skunk to a far-away remote setting. Use fully-enclosed cage traps that are effective. When it comes to plastic box traps, they are superior to wire traps as they are completely enclosed. Thus, reducing the opportunity of getting sprayed by a skunk while removing them from the site.

Our suggestion of trap and release is illegal in the state of Illinois.
Illinois law FAQ here.

A tip to consider: Bait a trap with peanut butter, over-ripe bananas, jelly, or marshmallows to avoid capturing neighboring cats.

Long nails and strong forefeet make skunks excellent diggers.

Traps designed specifically for skunks are the best type to use, as they will contain any odor that is released. I suggest buying one of the following spray-proof skunk traps:

My Recommended Top 3 Best Skunk Traps Comparison Table

People's Choice
Z Trap #6 Spray-Proof Skunk Trap review
Z Trap #6 Spray-Proof Skunk Trap
  • Material: PVC, Steel
  • Dimensions: 24″ x 6″

Check Price
JT Eaton Professional Catch and Release Trap review
JT Eaton Professional Catch and Release Trap
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 30″ x 7″ x 8″

Check Price
Spray-Proof Skunk Trap review
Spray-Proof Skunk Trap
  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Dimensions: 26″ x 7″ x 8.5″

Check Price

1. Z Trap #6 – Best Spray-Proof Skunk Trap (People’s Choice)

What can be more unpleasant than the foul odor of a skunk? Those who are tired of dealing with nocturnal animals can crack the skunk problem using this Spray-proof trap. It’s made of sheet metal and PVC.


  • The product protects you from scratches, bites and the skunk’s most famous defense – the spray.

  • The trap is humane and lets you dispose of wild animals humanely if desired.

2. JT Eaton Professional Skunk Live Trap

JT Eaton trap is 100% effective in catching and transporting smelly skunks without spraying. It is easy to use and includes detailed instructions. An ideal choice for trapping skunks because it is completely enclosed. The trap is great for trapping skunks in highly populated areas because it protects both rodents and people passing by.

Features: This covered plastic skunk trap is a high-quality, easy-to-use trap that protects trapped wild animals and protects you from skunk spray.

Benefits: Safe and humane cage release. The fully enclosed JT Eaton trap offers you safe, clean, and stress-free transportation of the trapped animal.

Have no experience on trapping skunks? Hire a professional.
Professional wildlife control operators have all the necessary equipment and experience to trap and dispatch a skunk.

3. Spray-Proof Skunk Trap

Effectiveness: This innovative enclosed skunk trap allows customers to release a skunk without getting sprayed. The trap is made of sheet metal. It’s cost-effective and has a simple design.


  • Handle for convenient transportation.

  • Locking door with sensitive trip pan.

  • Tube-style enclosure.

Where to Place and How to Set the Trap

Where to place the trap: Place it in an area where the skunk frequents or where you have seen the most skunk damage. Skunks may be found in various places such as:

  • tree hollows,
  • brush piles,

  • hollow logs,
  • porches,

  • burrows,
  • underneath structures.

Sunks control around your houseThe trap should be placed on an even, level surface to ensure stability.

How to set the trap: Set your trap in the evening – as skunks are nocturnal animals. If the cage is empty in the morning, you are to close it – so that you don’t catch any unwanted critters – and set it again in the evening.

Professional Baits to Make Skunk Trapping Effective

Skunks are generally not difficult to trap. However, when these smelly rodents are grubbing they can be near impossible to catch. An ordinary skunk or skunk trap avoider – you will easily catch any of them while using professional baits.

Here is the list of working and effective skunk attractants:

1. Dunlap’s Skunk Lure

This food-type lure reach-out skunk paste bait holds the skunk’s interest. The product contains an attractant that effectively attracts skunks.

2. Skunk Lure by Russ Carman

The bait is heavy, durable, and attractive year-round. This lure is made of a complex blend of food call ingredients with an added-for-a-push sharp side odor. The result is a natural aroma irresistible for skunks.

Wild skunks can bite and may carry rabies virus. Injured or frightened skunks may spray.
When approaching a skunk’s live trap or den, you are to wear gloves and eye protection.

Fencing Solution to Exclude Skunks from Your Property

Fencing methodCan skunks climb fences? Skunks are not skilled climbers. That is why fencing is a good method of skunk removal. Fencing should extend below the ground – as skunks are designed to dig – to prevent the troublesome rodents from getting underneath. Some tips to consider include:

  • Bury fencing one or two feet below ground level;
  • Note: fencing should stand at least four feet above ground level.

To cover openings in your building or underneath structures, you can also install mesh fencing. If skunks are currently underneath your porch/structure you are to drive the rodents out before completely covering the holes and openings.


Skunks are a nuisance for some people, but they can be taken out of your property with the right approach. I have outlined several methods here on how to get rid of skunks, and you can pick whichever option works best for you.

To remove skunks, use preventive measures, like removing attractants around your house, in combination with skunk deterrents and efficient skunk control products. Remember, the interaction of 2 or more products – traps, motion-activated sprinklers, repellents, etc., will make your property inhospitable to these nocturnal animals.

I recommend trapping them if you know where they’re living. If you don’t have those skills, then skunk repellents may be your best option, as they can deter skunks from entering your property without harm. And finally, consider fencing in all areas where skunks roam so that it’s impossible for their scent to get into your house.

No matter which way you decide to go about it, make sure that you take the necessary precautions to keep yourself safe and avoid any potential legal issues.

Good luck!