Skunks are attracted to areas with accessible food sources and shelter. By eliminating these attractants and implementing certain deterrents, you can reduce the likelihood of them entering your yard. 

Lawns, especially newly created ones, are immensely attractive to skunks, as they tend to be heavily watered and loaded with worms and grubs. Skunks dig small holes where grubs are located, which can make your lawn ugly quite quickly.

How do you know a skunk is in your yard?

You can typically tell when a skunk is in your yard by their pungent/distinct odor. If you see signs of digging or upturned soil in your yard, it may be the result of skunk foraging.

When are skunks a problem in the yard?

Skunk problems are typically at their peak during three times of the year:

  • Mating season (mid-February through mid-March)
  • Birthing seasons (May–June)
  • Winter foraging (approximately October–November) when skunks dig up lawns searching for grubs and worms

Skunk Mating Season

Mating season involves skunks seeking mates — and this often occurs nears homes. Homeowners report skunk tracks in the snow or smell skunk spray. Skunks secrete spray when they are mating and males often spray when they’re fighting and feel threatened.

Birthing Season

The season of skunks’ birth is a precarious one for removal — we can either relocate the entire family, including mother and babies, or we can seal off the areas that skunks are inhabiting and install a one-way valve that allows the family to exit but not re-enter. This can only be done when young are able to walk (3+ weeks).

The very last thing we want is to separate a mother from her kits. When we trap skunks, we always inspect the gender of the animal to ensure we aren’t accidentally relocating a mother who may get separated from her young on your property Many wildlife companies may not attempt the extra care of not separating mothers from their babies, but Critter Control of New Hampshire considers it a necessary step.

Skunk Winter Foraging

When skunks forage in lawns, it can often look like someone ran a rototiller across your yard. In some parts of the country, fall brings rain, which saturates the soil and brings earthworms to the surface. This provides easy access to a food source for skunks. 

Skunk control for your yard

Skunks are attracted to the worms and grubs in your lawn and garden. Lay down 1-inch mesh chicken wire, securing it with stakes or heavy stones.It’s also important for homeowners to prevent access to denning sites, as skunks will readily den under houses, sheds, or porches if given the chance. Close off these areas with ¼-inch hardware cloth, boards, or metal flashing. Make all connections flush and secure, and you’ll keep out smaller animals like mice and rats, too.

Each state has their own laws and regulations regarding skunk removal. Homeowners should avoid attempting skunk control themselves and should instead call a professional due to the risk of rabies and diseases transmitted through skunk bites, as well as potential property damage from their foraging and sharp claws.

About the author

Meg has over 13 years of experience in the wildlife industry. She started as a wildlife technician and was district manager and technical training manager supporting the Southeast Region.  She currently is one of the company’s wildlife training managers. As one of the training managers, her primary focus is special projects and leading Women in Wildlife.

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