The term “home remedy” refers to a method of curing an ailment or problem without the help of a professional. So in many cases the term home remedy is health related, but other times it just means “do it yourself” and can refer to any problem you may have. In this article that problem is skunks.
We’ll discuss some tips to keep skunks away from your home and out of your yard through the use of home remedies. In some cases you may have the items needed around the house, in other cases you may have to make a purchase. Either way, the goal is to avoid calling a professional, which can be very costly as you may know.
Do you have a skunk problem?
First it’s important to determine if you do in fact have a skunk problem. It’s possible you just have some roaming skunks just passing through. If you do have a den of skunks nearby, it could be a bigger problem.
Skunks are nocturnal animals and stay hidden during the day. It’s more likely you will see damage they have done rather than seeing the actual skunks themselves. If you have security cameras or a trail cam of some type set up, you can definitely catch them in the act though. In case you don’t, here are some other common signs of skunk activity.
- Holes and digging – This may mean skunks are digging for grubs in your yard or garden.
- Skunk smells in and around your yard – A skunk may inadvertently emit odors even without spraying, but if one does spray there will be no question about what caused it.
- Skunk tracks – Google “skunk tracks” and compare to what’s in your yard.
Problems skunks can cause
- They can damage your lawn and garden while digging for food
- Risks to you or your pet being sprayed
- They get into your garbage and make a mess
- Skunks will make short work of bird feeders
- Eating pet food
- They’ll eat your gardens
- Skunks can make their dens too close to your home for comfort
Here are some helpful home remedies to keep skunks away from your home.
Home remedies to keep skunks away (4 tips)
1. Eliminate their food
The number one reason that skunks find their way into your yard is for food. Somewhere in your yard or around your home they have found themselves a food source. It could be that your lawn is rich with grubs, you’re leaving cat food on your deck at night, or maybe they are riding your bird feeders. You need to pinpoint what they are eating in your yard and take it away from them.
What do skunks eat?
Skunks are nocturnal foragers and opportunistic, omnivorous eaters that will eat just about anything they can find. This includes but is not limited to:
- Grubs and worms
- Reptiles and amphibians
- Small mammals
- Plants and roots
- Pet food
- Bird seed
- Human garbage
- Cover trash cans
- Don’t feed cats outside
- Secure or bring bird feeders in at night
- Keep compost covered securely
- If you have fruit trees make sure the ground is always clear of fruit
- Water your lawn less so it becomes harder to dig in for food
- Put a fence around your garden
2. Eliminate their shelter
Another common reason for skunks in your yard and on your property is that they have made a home nearby. This usually coincides with a food source. So if you take away the food source their home may not be as attractive anymore.
If you have skunks living in or very near your house then you should strongly consider trapping or calling professional.
If you know that skunks are living in a location on your property and you can safely remove access to their den without disturbing them, then it’s worth a shot. Disturbing a den of skunks, especially with young, can be very dangerous though so extreme caution is advised.
- Locate the den
- Wait until a time that you are sure all skunks are out of the den
- Double check for babies
- Securely close access to the den
Where do skunks live?
A skunk will usually make it’s den out of a hollow log, in brush piles, or abandoned animal burrows. However they will also live under decks, porches, sheds, woodpiles, in basements, even in garages and attics.
3. Skunk repellants
There are a number of repellents that can be used to drive skunks away, and this should be used in congruence with the above two tips.
- Hot pepper spray – Boil a chopped onion, jalapeno pepper, and a tablespoon of cayenne pepper in 2 quarts water for 20 minutes. Add to spray bottle. Spray generously in areas with skunk activity
- Motion activated lights – Skunks hate bright lights, set these motion activated solar lights up near where there is skunk activity at night to scare them off.
- Motion activated sprinkler – Press spike into soil, sprays up to 70 feet in diameter covering 3,840 square feet when set to a full circle. Will effectively frighten off animals like skunks, opossums, or deer.
- Predator urine Liberally mark areas around your property with this “fox pee” to deter other animals from entering your yard.
Here are some other home remedies that have strong smells and are known to repel skunks:
- Moth balls
- Citrus peels
- Cat litter
- Castor oil
- Soap or deodorizer
- Cotton balls soaked with ammonia
4. Set a trap (catch and release)
I saved this as a last resort, because who actually wants to trap a skunk and risk getting sprayed? Not me. Not to mention that in many places even humanely catching and relocating wildlife is illegal and can result in their death anyway.
If you have tried deterrent methods to get them to leave you alone naturally to no avail, and you don’t want to call in a pro yet, then setting a skunk trap is a viable option.
However, there are ways to trap a skunk with minimal risk of getting sprayed.
*Some state laws prohibit the relocating of wild animals, please check your local laws
Best skunk trap to avoid getting sprayed
When to hire a professional
If you have exhausted all the tips and methods on this list and you are still having skunk problems, then maybe it’s time to consider hiring a professional. It’s always best to try do it yourself methods when it comes to keeping wild animals out of your yard, but sometimes calling for help is the best option. You have to consider that your time is worth money and you could be doing other things aside from worrying about the pests in your backyard.