Have you noticed an increase in skunk activity around your home or a constant musk in the air? If so then chances are you have skunks living under your deck or shed. Not only are your family and pets at risk of getting sprayed, but skunks can damage your yard, home and even spread diseases. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about skunks and how to get them off your property, permanently.
Confirming The Presence of Skunks
If you suspect your backyard is home to a family of skunks, take a walk around your property and look for the following:
- Evidence of Digging – skunks are natural diggers and burrowers, take a look around your property for small holes around any decks, sheds or other structures. They will also dig up your lawn and garden looking for bugs, however, these holes may be harder to detect than their den site.
- Distinct Odour – we are all familiar with the smell of a skunk’s spray, it’s hard to overlook. Their spray is a concentrated version of their natural odour. So even if a skunk has not sprayed recently, you will be able to smell their musk if they are living on your property.
- Visual evidence – not only will you see an increase in skunk activity on and around your property, but you will also find feces near their dens. Skunk feces is approximately 2 inches long and 1/2 an inch wide. It will often have insects visible in it as that is a skunk’s primary source of nutrition.
The good news is because of their pungent smell and the fact they are constantly digging up stuff in your yard, you will know if you have skunks fairly early on.
Why You Need To Get Rid of Them
The first thing that comes to mind when you realize you have skunks living in your yard is the smell. But there are several other dangers and annoyances when cohabitating with these stinky pests. The following is a brief list of reason why you need to get rid of them quickly and safely:
- Because they burrow under buildings, they can damage wires, gas lines and other integral parts of your home’s ecosystem.
- They will rummage through your garbage making a mess and attracting other species of nuisance wildlife.
- As mentioned earlier they will dig up your lawn and garden looking for insects.
- If a skunk sprays your car or if the spray gets in your home, it will take months to subside. And of course, there is always the risk a family member or pet will get sprayed.
- They carry several zoonotic diseases, the most troublesome being rabies and leptospirosis.
Ignoring a skunk problem is simply not an option. Your home is a significant investment and a family of skunks presents a real threat to your property, home and family. This is not something you should put off or take lightly.
How To Get Rid of Them
When it comes to safely, humanely and quickly resolving a skunk issue, it’s best to hire a professional wildlife removal and prevention company. Is the potential of saving a few dollars worth the risk of getting sprayed, infected or damaging your home? The reality is if wildlife exclusion was easy, there would not be dozens of companies offering these services. Dealing with wild animals properly, the first time takes training, experience and the proper equipment. This isn’t the time or place to learn on the job.
The main consideration when dealing with these little stinkers is the time of year. Between April and September, there is a very good chance the skunk will have babies that are not yet mobile. This requires a more delicate approach to the removal and prevention process. From September on you can take a more assertive method to evict them.
The exclusion and prevention process works as follows:
The first step is to have a technician examine the area you wish to protect and assess the situation. Because skunks are prolific diggers and prefer the safety provided by burrowing under a structure; 90% of skunk jobs involve protecting the circumference of a deck or shed. The technician will measure the linear footage involved, assess the difficulty of the landscape and put together a game plan. The two main considerations are the size of the area to protect and accessibility. If there is a fence or trees in the area that need to be temporarily removed, this needs to be taken into consideration.
The next step, if this is between April and September is determining if babies are present. A trained wildlife expert will take a thorough look at the area to determine whether or not young need to be removed. In these cases, the little guys and gals are removed manually and placed in a baby box and left by the exit point where their mom will easily find them. The baby box protects them from predators while they wait for their mom to join them.
Once any babies are dealt with, it’s time to put in place the preventative measures. With skunk prevention, this almost always involves digging and trenching around the structure and putting in place corrugated steel wiring to make sure no pests can gain access. Skunks can not dig more than 12 inches down; so to successfully secure an area you need to dig down a foot, then out a foot, placing the wiring securely against the structure. This provides an impenetrable barrier around the entire perimeter of the deck or shed. The last and most important part of this process is installing a one-way door on the most accessible corner of the structure. This will ensure that no animals are trapped under the deck or shed. Not only would the animal starve to death but any babies would also perish. With the one-way door system, the skunk will leave through the designated area, lock itself out permanently and move on to terrorize someone else in the neighbourhood.
In the above picture, you can see one of the one-way door system employed by wildlife and pest removal professionals. The door is removed once the animals are gone and the hole is patched up with steel wiring. If the mesh is visible, people have used potato stones or other decorative landscaping tactics to camouflage the area. The important thing is that your unwanted pests are evicted, permanently.