The average striped skunk is about the size of a full-grown house cat while the spotted skunk is about half that size. You may or may not have both of these skunks in your area. If skunks have been a problem on your property, there are a couple of household products and chemical repellents that may be effective at repelling them from dens under buildings. The most effective solution to a skunk problem, however, is to permanently exclude the animals from your property. There may not be any chemical repellents or fumigants registered for use on skunks in your state.
Before you go out and purchase just any old product that promises to repel skunks, look under the kitchen sink. While the method may not repel skunks permanently, rags soaked in ammonia and placed in or very near the entrance of the den should irritate the skunk enough to get it out from under the house or shed, giving you the opportunity to seal the entrance. If you know there are kits in the den, do not try to repel the mother as the kits will die under the house, and the last thing you want is a dead skunk trapped under your living space. Other chemical options include mothballs, naphthalene flakes and paradichlorobenzene crystals, according to the Utah State University Extension
The most effective long-term strategy for repelling skunks is to seal the entrances to potential dens. If you know for sure that there is a skunk living under your house, garage or shed, cover the hole with 1/4-inch hardware cloth after ensuring that the skunk has left the den. Sprinkle some flour at the entrance. Once you see footprints leading away from the den, the skunk has gone. Bury the mesh at least 6 inches underground as skunks are diggers. Ensure the mesh is very secure so the skunk doesn't pull it off. This method should only be used if you are certain that there are no kits in the den.
If you've got a sizeable piece of property, likely you have things like brush piles lying around. Brush piles, open irrigation pipes and junked cars provide potential shelters to skunks. Remove these potential skunk homes. If you know that skunks are digging in your yard for grubs or insects, treat the grub or insect problem to remove the skunk's food source. Other possible steps include securing garbage cans or placing them in the garage at night and securing the chicken coop as skunks love to steal and eat chicken eggs as well as kill chickens.
Kits are born between May and early June and stay with their mother for two months before they leave the den to hunt on their own. Use this timeline to help determine if there are kits in the den you are seeking to empty and seal.
Skunks are one of the most common animal carriers of rabies. If you notice a skunk on or near your property that is listless, tame and wandering around in the daytime, likely the skunk is rabid. Keep all animals and children in the house and call Animal Control.
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