- Do not feed the skunks. They can easily become dependent on human food sources.
- Never leave pet food outside.
- Never discard edible garbage where skunks can get to it.
- Secure garbage containers and eliminate their odors. Use a small amount of ammonia or cayenne pepper in the garbage to discourage scavenging.
- A persistent, faint skunk odor around a hole leading under a foundation or deck indicates a skunk may be present. To find out, cover the hole with loose dirt; if a skunk is in residence, it will dig out during the night. Allow three days for this test; if dirt remains undisturbed, then close the opening with masonry, boards, or hardware cloth.
- Install one-way doors on entrances to skunk dens, allowing the skunk to leave at night but barring it from re-entering. Watch for any new holes. Do not use one-way doors during May through August, when babies may be in the den. If the mother cannot return, the babies will starve. This is inhumane and can also cause odor problems.
- Place mothball-filled socks and/or sprinkle cayenne pepper around your yard to discourage digging.
- Start a nontoxic insect- control program (especially for grubs) to discourage digging.
- Fences are effective as long as they are buried at least 1 1/2 feet in the ground.
- If a skunk strays into your garage, leave a door to the outside open and let the skunk exit on its own.
- Securely enclose poultry, especially at night. Repair all openings in coop or fencing. Fencing should extend 6 to 8 inches underground to prevent skunks and other animals from digging under.
- Debris and brush piles should be removed or stacked neatly to eliminate suitable cavities.
- Blow-up or plastic great horned owls may be strategically placed and periodically moved to deter skunks.
- Lighting up of denning sites and a portable radio may cause the skunk to seek a more suitable habitat.
- Keep pet doors closed at night to prevent illegal entry by a skunk.
- Keep fruit trees picked and don’t leave rotted fruit on the ground.
- Restrict use of birdseed. Skunks are attracted to it and to the birds and rodents that use the feeder.
- If possible, eliminate outdoor sources of water.
- Battery operated flashing lights, tape recorded human noises, scattered moth balls and ammonia-soaked rags strategically placed may deter skunks from entering your yard.
- Trapping and relocation of skunks is not a recommended or viable alternative. Wild animals are territorial and like species will simply take over the area vacated by the relocated or dead animal.
Sprayed by Skunks
If a person or an animal surprises a skunk in a situation where neither can retreat, the skunk will spray in self-defense. Skunk spray in human eyes is extremely irritating and can cause temporary blindness, but no permanent damage. Flush eyes liberally with cold water to ease irritation. Wash skin with carbolic soap and water, tomato juice, or vinegar or Massengil douch. You may be able to save clothing by washing repeatedly in vinegar water and/or hanging it outside for a month or so before dry-cleaning. For the worst sprays, however, it may be best to discard or burn the clothing.
When your pet is sprayed, the quicker you take action, the more completely you can remove the odor. Wash your pet with tomato juice, Massengil douch, or diluted vinegar to counteract the chemical makeup of the skunk spray. Skunk Off and similar preparations containing neutroleum alpha, available from some pet stores, are effective.
Skunk Smell Remedy: 1 quart 3% peroxide, 1/4 c baking soda, 1 tbs liquid hand soap. Mix all three ingredients together. Shampoo animal thoroughly keeping out of eyes, nose and mouth. Soak 5 minutes. Rinse well.
Information provided by California Center for Wildlife and the Fund for Animals