Do you hate the foul odor that skunks emit? Do you want to keep your beautiful lawn free of skunks? If so, we’ll be more than happy to give you some useful tips.
But before that, the questions which most of the people ponder upon are: Are skunks really dangerous? Should we drive them away and relocate them or leave them as it is? How to get rid of skunks? Let’s find out the answers to those questions in the coming sections.
How to Get Rid of Skunks & Keep Them Away Permanently?
Remove leftovers and other sources of food from your lawn
Skunks are nocturnal rodents that have adapted to nightlife in cities. Like your common garden rat, they will eat just about anything and they usually salvage for food in trash cans. There are numerous ways to prevent skunks from searching for food in your trash can. They are:
- Have a trash can with a tight-fitting lid. If the lid of your trash can is closed tightly, skunks cannot open it. Therefore, they will leave your lawn and not spill your garbage all over the place.
- You can put mothballs (Ammonia balls) on the lid of your trash cans to repel skunks. Ammonia has a strong odor that repels skunks. Please take care that your pets or children don’t consume it as it can be fatal to them.
- Put something heavy on the lid of your trash can. Naturally, the heavyweight will prevent the skunk from toppling over your trash can’s lid and searching for food inside your trash can.
- While disposing of food with strong odors like meat, fish, eggs, etcetera, double bag them to reduce their odor (the spread of their odor).
- Remove sources of food and water on your lawn. Dispose of any fallen fruits or nuts or leftovers on your lawn and remove any puddles (caused by rain) to eliminate sources of food and water for skunks. Naturally, if there is nothing to be found on your lawn, the skunks will move away.
- Do not leave pet food out at night. As I have stated before, skunks will eat just about anything. Even food that was meant for your pet dog or cat. Food in any form is a great source of attraction for skunks. Do not leave food of any kind out on your lawn if you want it to be free of skunks.
- Place your trash can in a high place where skunks cannot reach it. Skunks are poor climbers and even worse jumpers. So if your trash can is quite tall and if it is placed in a high place, skunks will not be able to reach it and will leave your lawn.
Protect your waste
There are quite a few ways to protect your trash can from skunks. They are:
- You can lock its lid.
- You can put it in your garage at night so that the garbage’s smell does not attract skunks.
- If there are gaps between the metal in your trash can, you can cover it with wooden slabs.
Eliminate any possible hiding places for skunks on your lawn
Skunks are nocturnal and very shy animals. They hate to be spotted by people or by other animals such as dogs or cats. They either dig burrows or choose dark corners to hide during the day.
- If you have a wooden log pile or a haystack on your lawn, they could serve as an excellent hiding place for skunks. So cover them properly with thick material and nail it to the ground to prevent skunks from seeing them in the first place (at night).
- Large bushes also serve as an excellent hiding place for skunks. So trim the bushes on your lawn regularly to prevent them from serving as a hiding place for skunks
Spray skunk repellents on your lawn
A number of substances repel skunks. They are
Dog or Coyote urine
Skunks have natural predators like dogs or coyotes. Spraying their urine on your lawn will make them think that there are dogs or coyotes on your lawn and scare them away. If you have a pet dog, you may leave it out on your lawn to serve as a natural defense against skunks for you.
Hot pepper spray
The smell of hot peppers like green chilly, any variety of red chilly or scorpion pepper repels skunks. So spray hot peppers wherever you suspect skunks to be hiding on your lawn. It will make them run away from your lawn at once.
Ammonia or Mothballs
Ammonia has a strong and pungent odor that repels skunks. It is commercially available as mothballs. So place mothballs all around your lawn or where you suspect skunks to be hiding.
Skunks are highly sensitive to smell and the pungent odor of mothballs will overload their olfactory nerves and drive them out of your lawn.
I once placed mothballs near the log pile on my lawn and that night the skunks did not search for food in my garbage can.
They went away from my lawn and into other people’s lawns. My neighbors took the cue from me and tried out this method successfully. You must be careful though. Ammonia is soluble in water (teargas) and the mothballs will dissolve away when it rains. You must replace them in that case.
Orange or lemon peels
The peels of citrus fruits like lemon or orange have a strong acidic odor and repel many rodents and insects including skunks. You may place them all around your lawn or where ever you suspect skunks to be hiding.
My neighbor had tried this method once and he was highly successful at it. He was happy that such a cost-effective method had worked for him.
Spray a mixture of dish-washing liquid, baking soda, and vinegar
Like Ammonia, this mixture has a very strong odor that overloads the olfactory nerves of skunks and drives them away from your lawn.
You must mix those ingredients in equal proportions and then mix them with a jug of water. This will dilute them and enable you to spray them all over your lawn.
My other neighbor, Marcie, had tried this method once and skunks never returned to her lawn again. I was amazed at what a cost-effective yet effective method this was.
Install pressure-sensitive lighting on your lawn
Now, this method is costly but effective. You may undertake it if you’re well off. Skunks are very shy and nocturnal animals. They hate light in any form and they hate to be seen by people or other animals.
If you install pressure-sensitive lighting on your lawn, the lights will turn on every time a skunk (or any other animal) steps onto your lawn and scare it away.
The reason I am emphasizing on pressure-sensitive lighting is that if you leave the lights on throughout the night, it will attract flies and other unwanted insects into your lawn. Surely you don’t want them to come into your lawn and cause all kinds of damage to it.
Install pressure-sensitive sprinklers
Like pressure-sensitive lighting, this is another humane way to drive skunks out of your lawn. Skunks hate water and are very sensitive to touch.
The moment a skunk (or any other animal) sets foot onto your lawn, it will activate your water sprinklers and run away in fright.
Water is non-toxic to skunks or any other living organism. So it’s a very humane way to drive skunks out of your lawn and it will not cause any harm to your children or pets.
Use skunk traps
Traditional skunk traps are like metal cages that are 35 inches long and 25 inches high. If you place baits like raw meat or eggs or cake or seeds, skunks will be lured inside the cage and get trapped in it.
You can later release the skunk (wherever appropriate) by manually lifting and holding the trapdoor of the cage.
One other type of skunk trap called a tube trap is available. If you find that skunks have dug a network of burrows on your lawn, then you may use this kind of trap.
It works similar to a traditional skunk trap except that it is shaped in the form of a tube. You may place this trap at the entrance of skunk burrows to lure and trap skunks.
I know of many people who have tried both the traditional and tube skunk traps with great success. They cost less than 5 US dollars. So they are both cost-effective and effective.
How to get rid of skunk odor on your dog or cat?
There are many ways to get rid of skunk odor on your dog or your cat. They are:
Apply tomato juice on your dog or cat’s fur
Tomato juice is mildly acidic. It will react with the base gases in the skunk’s gas and neutralize them. Therefore, the skunk’s gas will be rendered odorless.
Apply vanilla extract
You can mix a cup of vanilla extract with a gallon of water and pour it on your dog’s fur. You must let your dog soak in this solution for at least 10 minutes before applying dog shampoo or soap. This solution will absorb all the bad odor from your dog and make it’s fur soft and shiny.
Apply vinegar solution
You must dissolve vinegar in water in the ratio 1:2. Before soaking your dog in this solution for five minutes, you must pour at least a bucket of water over it and rinse thoroughly.
You must pour at least a bucket of water on your dog once again after soaking it in the vinegar solution for 5 minutes. Vinegar is an acidic substance that will neutralize the basic gases present in the skunk’s odor thereby rendering them ineffective.
My dog chased a skunk on my lawn one night and it got sprayed with skunk gas. I tried the vinegar solution method and my dog felt relieved afterward though it did make a lot of fuss during the bath.
Apply baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish-washing liquid
This is for those people who have a large dog and who have the above-mentioned ingredients.
You must mix baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish-washing liquid in the ratio 4:1:1 and then dissolve them in a tub of water.
Wash your dog thoroughly first and then soak it in this solution for 15 minutes. Then wash it thoroughly again. This method will surely remove all the bad skunk odor off your dog.
How to remove bad skunk odor off people?
If a skunk sprays its foul gas on you in self-defense. Do the following to get rid of its bad odor:
- Dissolve 4 cups of baking soda in a bucket of hot water.
- Take a bath with it and rinse thoroughly.
- The bad odor will be gone completely after the bath.
- Baking soda is mildly acidic. It will react with the basic gases present in the skunk’s odor and neutralize them. Therefore, the skunk’s repulsive gas will be rendered odorless.
How to remove bad skunk odor off clothes?
You’d definitely want to do this as you wouldn’t want people to call you “skunk”. Just follow these simple steps:
- Mix half-a-cup of baking soda solution with one cup of detergent liquid.
- Wash your clothes with that solution.
- Sundry your clothes.
- Tada! Your clothes will be completely rid of the skunk’s odor after they become dry.
- Your clothes will, in fact, smell nice!
How to remove bad skunk odor from your house?
If you were unlucky enough to have a skunk spray its bad odor in your home, kindly follow these simple steps to get rid of that foul odor:
- Ventilate your home by opening all the doors and windows.
- Run the fans, wherever available, at full speed to hasten the dispersion of the bad smell.
- Dissolve vinegar in water in the ratio 1:2.
- Place one cup of vinegar solution in every room for 48 hours.
- The vinegar solution, being acidic, will neutralize the basic gases present in the skunk’s odor and render them ineffective. Thus your rooms will be free of the skunk’s bad odor.
- Dissolve bleaching powder (Calcium Hypochlorite) in water in the ratio 1:9.
- Mop your floor with that solution.
- Calcium Hypochlorite solution is acidic and will neutralize the basic gases present in the skunk’s odor and render them ineffective.
The potential health risks of skunk spray
According to research conducted in 1999, skunk’s spray contains sulfur-containing compounds called thiols that have an awful, repelling odor. It has also been found that high concentrations of this substance/gas are fatal to humans.
At low concentrations, skunk odor can cause a burning sensation in the nose, watering of the eyes, a runny nose, violent sneezing and coughing, and frequent vomiting. So please be very careful when you’re dealing with skunks.
Skunks are nocturnal and shy animals but their odor can cause harm to humans even at low concentrations. So never try to catch a skunk directly with your bare hands. They will stun you with their bad odor.
Always employ the above-mentioned methods to drive skunks out of your lawn. Call a skunk exterminator/relocator if things get out of hand. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
1. Are skunks nocturnal?
Yes, they are nocturnal. They only forage for food at night.
2. When do skunks mate?
Skunks mate during the winter season. Especially during late winter.
3. What is a skunk’s favorite food?
Skunks are opportunistic eaters and will eat just about anything but their favorite food is oily meat like fish and chicken.
4. Do skunks eat cats?
No, skunks avoid full-grown cats as they are very shy and adult cats can defend themselves. However, skunks are opportunistic feeders and will eat kittens if they are left unprotected.