Skunks are nocturnal, shy animals, so if they’re coming onto your property, it probably means that they’ve discovered some tasty snacks. In this article, you’ll find out how to get rid of skunks and deter them from returning.
Skunks are an essential part of the natural environment, but at times they’re also a problematic nuisance for homeowners. They’re best known for the unpleasant and lingering skunk smell that they spray at humans and animals when threatened.
Aside from the stink, they have a habit of raiding your vegetable garden and making a mess of your trash cans. There are plenty of reasons to want skunks gone.
Although they’re exasperating, it’s best to avoid using harsh chemicals or poisons around your garden and home, particularly if you have children or pets.
Read on to discover some of the best natural ways to get rid of skunks. There are also numerous preventative measures to take so that the skunks won’t soon come back to your property.
Table Of Contents
- Natural Ways to Get Rid of Skunks
- Eliminate the Food Supply
- How to Get Rid of Skunks with DIY Pepper Spray
- DIY Pepper Spray for Skunks
- Best Way to Get Rid of Skunks with Citrus
- DIY Citrus Peel Skunk Spray
- Get Rid of Skunks with Peppermint Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil Skunk Repellent
- Home Remedies for Getting Rid of a Skunk
- Getting Rid of a Skunk Den on Your Property
- Block Skunks’ Entry Points with a Barrier
- Deter Skunks with Motion-Activated Lights
- Make a Spray-Proof DIY Skunk Trap
- DIY Skunk Trap
- How to Get Rid of Skunk Odor
- DIY De-Skunking Shampoo
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Skunks
There’s no need to use toxic repellents to get rid of skunks and keep skunks away from home and garden areas. Here are some useful tips and tricks for deterring skunks naturally. Since skunks and raccoons are nocturnal, it’s often difficult to catch them in the act of foraging for food around your property.
However, they leave telltale signs such as digging holes in your lawn and making a meal out of your garden veggies, chicken eggs, compost pile, or garbage can.
Luckily, skunks are sensitive, timid critters that are relatively easy to fend off. Follow our DIY pest control methods and get rid of skunks for good.
Eliminate the Food Supply
The simplest and best way to get rid of skunks is by eliminating their food sources. Skunks primarily feed on grubs and insect larvae. Still, they’re opportunistic omnivores that will happily take advantage of an easy snack.
If you do away with their food supply, they aren’t likely to stick around. Keep your trash cans tightly sealed and store them in a secure area where skunks can’t tip them over.
Seal food scraps with a strong odor in plastic bags. If you have a compost pile, keep it completely covered until the visiting skunk moves on.
If you grow fruit and nut trees, make sure to regularly tidy up underneath the trees to prevent skunks from foraging. Secure bird feeders so they can’t be tipped over, and frequently remove any fallen birdseed.
Pet food might quickly become pest food if you feed your pets outdoors. Make sure to clean up any remnants and store dog and cat food in a tightly sealed container.
Skunks love eating insects living in tall grass. Add keeping skunks away to your list of reasons to mow the lawn more often.
How to Get Rid of Skunks with DIY Pepper Spray
Skunks are highly sensitive to strong odors like hot pepper. Make a DIY skunk repellent spray with the following common ingredients.
DIY Pepper Spray for Skunks
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 1 large jalapeno pepper
- 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper
- 2 quarts of water
Roughly chop the onion and jalapeno pepper and boil for at least 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then strain the liquid into a clean spray bottle.
Squirt the mixture on plants, the garbage can, or wherever you notice skunk activity. Reapply this homemade skunk repellent recipe every three to five days or if it rains.
Best Way to Get Rid of Skunks with Citrus
Citrus oil is also irritating to skunks. Place pieces of citrus peel around your property where you suspect skunks visit, or boil the citrus peels to make a DIY repellent spray.
DIY Citrus Peel Skunk Spray
- 2 cups of chopped citrus peels (lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit)
- 2 cups of water
Boil the citrus peels for at least 20 minutes. Allow to cool, then strain the solution into a clean spray bottle. Apply the spray to plants and any areas where you’ve noticed skunk activity. Reapply the spray in three to five days or after it rains.
Get Rid of Skunks with Peppermint Oil
Peppermint essential oil is another effective skunk repellent that is safe for home and garden use.
Mix the peppermint oil and water in a clean spray bottle, and apply the solution to plants and other areas with frequent skunk activity or for getting rid of feral cats who like to hang around your home. Reapply every few days or if it rains.
Home Remedies for Getting Rid of a Skunk
There are a variety of home remedies for skunk removal, some more effective than others. Applying predator urine around your garden and other areas is one of the best natural ways to get rid of skunks.
Mothballs and ammonia-soaked rags commonly get touted as household skunk repellents. However, neither substance works very well to deter skunks. They’re toxic to humans and animals and may contaminate your garden soil.
Getting Rid of a Skunk Den on Your Property
If a family of skunks has taken up residence under your deck, shed, or in your crawl space, skunk removal becomes a bit more complicated.
Try home remedies first, but if the problem persists, you may need to contact your local animal control to remove the wild animals.
The best way to get rid of skunks is to apply your skunk repellent of choice around the entry point of the skunk den. Predator urine is incredibly efficient if there are baby skunks present.
Once you’re confident that the skunks have vacated the space, promptly seal the entrance hole to prevent them from returning. Continue applying repellent near the den site for several weeks to deter the skunks from coming back.
Block Skunks’ Entry Points with a Barrier
Skunks are not adept climbers or jumpers, so installing a barrier around your garden is a practical way of keeping skunks out. Build a fence that is at least three or four feet high.
Bury hardware cloth, aluminum sheathing, or quarter-inch stainless steel wire mesh at least two feet deep to prevent skunks from digging under the fence.
Deter Skunks with Motion-Activated Lights
Leaving exterior lights on at night or installing motion-activated outdoor lights is an efficient technique to scare off nocturnal skunks.
Bright light scares off other nocturnal scavengers like raccoons as well. Additionally, running your sprinklers at night scares away skunks from your yard and as a humane way to get rid of chipmunks and squirrels.
Make a Spray-Proof DIY Skunk Trap
If you have an exceptionally persistent skunk, you may need to resort to trapping it. Building DIY live traps is a quick and easy way to ensure that the unwanted visitor is truly gone.
It’s critical to make the trap just big enough for the skunk to move around but not tall enough to lift its tail to spray.
DIY Skunk Trap
- 12-inch concrete form tube
- 2 boards measuring 2×4 inches and 8 feet long
- 3 pieces of ¾-inch plywood, 5×20 inches (1) and 15×15 inches (2)
- 5 feet of string
- Pin or nail
- 2 eyelet screws
- Tape measure
- Skill saw
To make the homemade skunk trap, cut the concrete form tube to two feet long. Drill a hole about five inches from one end of the tube. Drill a hole in one end of the 5×20 inch piece of plywood, which will be a raised platform for the bait.
Tie a two-foot length of string to the plywood. Insert the platform and feed the string through the hole in the tube. Construct two wooden frames for either end of the tube.
One frame should be the same size as the tube, and the other should be twice as tall to accommodate the sliding door. Cut the 2×4-inch boards into nine pieces: seven at 15 inches long and two at 30 inches long.
Screw the pieces together to create square and rectangular frames. Attach the remaining 15-inch board to the middle of the rectangular frame, so the tube fits snugly.
Use a 15×15-inch piece of plywood for a sliding trap door. Seal the back end of the trap with the other 15×15-inch piece of plywood. Alternatively, use a transparent window or wire mesh to seal the back so you can see inside.
Place one eyelet screw centered on top of the rectangular frame, and the other centered on top of the trap door. Tie a three-foot (or longer) length of string to the eyelet screw on the trap door, and feed it through the eyelet screw on top of the frame.
The string should be plenty long so you can stand well back from the trap to avoid getting sprayed when releasing the skunk. Tie the piece of string attached to the bait platform to a nail or holding pin.
With the door open, place the pin between the bottom of the door and the support board on the frame, ensuring that the string is taut and the platform’s back lifts like a ramp.
Place bait on the platform near the string at the back of the trap. Skunks are especially attracted to strong-smelling and oily foods like sardines or peanut butter.
When the skunk walks onto the platform, its weight causes it to drop and pull the holding pin loose. The door falls, and the skunk gets trapped inside the tube. Now it’s easy to relocate the skunk and release it in an appropriate area.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Odor
If you or your pets have an unfortunate encounter with a skunk and get sprayed, there are multiple ways to remove stinky skunk odor.
Eliminate skunk smell from clothing by adding a half-cup of baking soda to your regular laundry detergent and washing with hot water. Use bleach on any items that it won’t damage.
Air-dry the clothes instead of machine drying. The dryer’s heat may bake in the skunk smell if it doesn’t come out entirely with washing.
A common skunk myth is that tomato juice will get rid of skunk odor. However, the tomato juice only masks the smell with its pungent aroma. If a pet gets sprayed, use this DIY pet shampoo recipe to eliminate the skunk smell.
DIY De-Skunking Shampoo
- 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
Wear rubber gloves, bathe your pet in this solution as soon as possible, and then follow up with your regular pet shampoo. Be extremely careful not to get the mixture in their eyes.
If you notice your pets’ eyes are red, irritated, or swollen, contact your veterinarian immediately, as skunk spray is potent enough to cause blindness.
Although skunks are usually elusive, they cause significant problems when they do come around. Luckily, it’s usually simple and easy to deter them.
Eliminating their food sources, applying strongly-scented repellents, and using home remedies like bright lights and barriers are practical and natural ways to discourage skunks.
If the problem persists, try relocating the skunk with a live trap or call your local animal control for help with skunk removal.
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