Skunks aren’t necessarily loved by most homeowners. They do assist in killing off harmful insects and rodents, such as roaches, grubs, termites, mice, and rats. Still, though, the distinct pungency of their defensive spray and digging tendencies in gardens can make them a nuisance that simply requires prevention.
Reasons for Skunk Prevention
For the most part, skunks are relaxed in nature and could actually pose some benefits to your yard and garden with their previously stated diet of annoying insects and rodents. On the other hand, their desire to dig can cause more problems than they’re worth keeping around. Skunks primarily create small holes in gardens and lawns to get to low-hanging crops and destroy whatever land is in their path while doing so. Deeper holes are dug in their hunt for underground insects such as worms, and their wandering nature scares homeowners with the possibility of a stink bomb. When a skunk has been around, it’s not tough to notice.
Skunk prevention doesn’t have to be complicated, though capturing a skunk for removal is a job that needs to be checked with state laws and then handed over to a professional.
However, deterring them from your property and preventing their return is something you can handle yourself. From patching holes around your property to storing food in other locations, there are several steps you can take today to minimize your pesky skunk issue.
Seal Off Your Foundation
How deeply your fence posts are buried is the key to protecting your perimeter, since skunks are avid diggers with an affinity for going underground. This is why it’s suggested to place fence posts one and a half feet deep at a minimum, though make sure no skunks are trapped inside. If you have a porch with space that a skunk has been calling home, for example, fencing will seal off any opportunity for further entry.
Clear Possible Shelter
Skunks often establish their dens in tree hollows and beneath porches, along with simple piles of rock and wood. If your patio has a collection of objects that could serve as a den for the local skunk, make sure to clear it all out and remove any possibility for shelter. Eliminating potential sites for skunk dens will ensure that they can’t set up shop in the first place.
Use Ammonia Rags
A popular choice when attempting to repel most wildlife, ammonia has a pungent scent that can serve as a short-term skunk prevention strategy. Common application includes dipping a rag in ammonia before placing it beneath a porch, for example, to prevent skunks from forming a den. The effects of ammonia irritate the eyes and nose of skunks, and since scent is more powerful in a concentrated space, these effects are best suited for more confined areas.
Clear the Area of Food
The number one reason wildlife wander onto properties is food that’s lying around for the taking. For example, apples strewn about beneath a tree should be cleared out and disposed of scraps in trash bins need to be sealed. Instead of leaving your garbage cans outside to be ravaged, try storing them inside the house or garage so that the scent isn’t picked up by any nearby skunks. If they need to be placed outside, you can add some security to the lid by getting one with a locking mechanism. Note that skunks aren’t active creatures during the day, which is why homeowners often wake up to invaded trash cans or due to the sound of scavenging occurring. If a skunk is seen strolling during the day, it could be one of two things: starving or rabid. In the latter case, it’s suggested to contact a local animal department for prompt removal from the streets.
Startle Them with Sprinklers
Another widely-used defense against skunks and rodents alike is the application of motion-activated sprinklers, which turn on once triggered in an attempt to scare off wandering animals. This is another short-term method, however, since a hungry enough skunk likely won’t let a sprinkle of water scare them away. It could work in startling them initially, though skunks have been seen to adapt to this solution over time.
Forget About Repellents
There is a list of so-called repellents claimed to be effective in skunk prevention, though experts don’t place faith in their effectiveness. For example, the use of citrus oils and predator urine have posed low levels of success and claims that pepper solutions such as cayenne have proved flimsy at best. Additionally, these substances aren’t safe for small children or house pets that could accidentally encounter them.
If your yard or garden has seen destruction at the hands of a skunk, or your garbage cans have been strewn about, consider these steps before contacting an expert for removal. Taking steps to ward off intrusion with fencing and ammonia rags will help, as well as keeping the area clear of possible dens and food scraps for skunks to track down. Lastly, try to avoid short-term solutions like sprinklers, and forget about the promises of repellents altogether.