Having an unwanted skunk lingering around your home or property is annoying as well as potentially dangerous. Often, resorting to an extreme option, killing skunks, tempts people struggling with the pests. However, learning how to kill a skunk is not always the best option. This article will teach you some humane methods for getting rid of pesky skunks.
Table of Contents
- What Attracts Skunks?
- Why You Should Get Rid of Skunks
- How to Kill a Skunk
- Should You Kill or Remove a Skunk?
- How to Prevent Skunks
What Attracts Skunks?
Skunks eat both plants and animals, so your plants, berries, or other animals nearby attract them to your home. The shelter your house provides also attracts skunks; they can reside under porches, in sheds, or in crawl spaces. Skunks mate in February and March, and could utilize your home to make and keep their dens for their young! Your shelter and food sources attract these unwanted pests, leaving you at risk for more skunks being attracted in the future.
Why You Should Get Rid of Skunks
Although skunks rarely attack humans or other animals unless they feel threatened, having skunks near your home can still be dangerous. Skunks harbor harmful diseases, putting other nearby people and animals at risk. Skunks often carry and transmit rabies, distemper, leptospirosis and canine hepatitis among other diseases. These infections can be dangerous not only for you and your family but also for your pets! People choose to kill or remove skunks due to the risk that these diseases present.
Skunks also possess a reputation for their pungent spray. Skunk spray consists of oil that sticks to practically any surface for days or even weeks. Skunk spray presents a massive nuisance to get rid of and can also pose health risks if sprayed directly on humans or other animals. In humans and dogs, skunk spray can cause temporary blindness, nausea, and itching and burning eyes. Effectively removing a skunk from your property and deterring future skunks helps solve these harmful concerns.
How to Kill a Skunk
While skunks may be easy to recognize due to their distinctive colors, they can be difficult to get rid of. When dealing with unwanted pests, people often want to get rid of the pest with minimal contact. This is especially true with skunks due to their foul-smelling and harmful spray. However, poison poses many risks for inexperienced users. First, other nearby animals, including domesticated pets, may accidentally consume the poison intended for a skunk. Additionally, an incorrect substance or dosage can cause the poison to fail. In this case, people inflict inhumane suffering on the skunk, and the problem of its presence would not even be eliminated. Finally, poisoning skunks is illegal in most places, including the entirety of the United States. Therefore, we never recommend poison for skunk removal or for killing skunks.
If a skunk poses a significant threat to your family’s well being and removal does not seem to be an adequate choice, shooting can be an effective and relatively humane way to kill a skunk. It’s important to note that shooting can often be legally prohibited in suburban or urban areas. These more populated areas can ban shooting due to the risk of accidentally hurting someone else nearby. Additionally, a skunk will almost always release its odorous spray when shot, so ensure you are standing a safe distance away from the skunk. Some people living in rural areas may still choose to shoot skunks, but more simple and effective methods exist for getting rid of a skunk.
The easiest, most effective, and most humane method for skunk removal is trapping and relocation. Trapping can be simple with specially-designed traps on the market. When trapping a skunk, cover the trap with a thick blanket during relocation or use a closed trap to avoid getting sprayed. To ensure that the skunk does not return to your home, we recommend relocating the skunk to a safe area at least ten miles away. Fully enclosed box or cage traps should be used for relocation. Other types of traps, such as Conibear-type traps or foothold traps, are used for killing the animal and can be extremely dangerous for inexperienced users. Always research relocation laws in your area as some areas require euthanasia due to skunks’ propensity to carry diseases.
Should You Kill or Remove a Skunk
Removing a skunk can often be completed without killing the skunk, and killing can also pose some unnecessary problems. For example, if you poison or shoot a skunk, you will need to get rid of its carcass, which may be leaking potentially disease-filled blood or skunk spray. Carcass disposal is not only extremely unpleasant but can also be potentially harmful. In many places, killing skunks by non-professionals is illegal as well as dangerous and personally appalling.
Utilizing some mild harassment methods can be effective before moving on to killing or trapping an annoying skunk. First, leave outside lights on at night, or continue to make noise outside after dark. This can disturb the skunk, causing it to seek shelter elsewhere. Additionally, removing food sources, such as berry bushes, plants, and garbage, can lead skunks to naturally leave your property. Feeding your pets indoors and removing birdseed outside can also be effective skunk deterrents. You should also consider the long-term prevention of skunks and other pests, which we discuss below.
If a skunk refuses to leave your property after trying these methods and is close enough to cause potential harm to your family or pets, physically trapping and relocating the skunk may be necessary. If this is not an option in your area due to legal restrictions or personal concerns, local professional pest removal services will help remove a skunk you have already caught, or trap and remove the skunk themselves. However, these services are often expensive or unavailable in rural areas. So, if you live in a rural area and are able to effectively and safely shoot the skunk, it is the most humane method for killing a skunk at-home.
How to Prevent Skunks
After taking care of your immediate skunk issue, deterring more skunks from residing on your property is crucial. Sealing possible entrances has proven to be one of the most effective methods for preventing skunks from building their dens or taking shelter under your house or deck. Additionally, fences or spiky plants and foliage can deter skunks from entering your property, which protects you and your family. Finally, you should also take precautions to limit the food available for skunks. Make sure outside garbage cans always have secure lids. Storing pet food indoors is also essential for preventing skunks as well as other unwanted wildlife, such as squirrels and raccoons.
Because skunks can also feed on moles and rodents, eliminating these animals from your house and property is vital for skunk prevention. Many of the same precautions can be utilized to prevent rodents and moles, but you should complete additional research for your unique case, if necessary.
Killing skunks and trapping wild animals is a tricky business. Make sure to research local laws and regulations before attempting pest removal. If you are not confident in your ability to safely and legally remove a skunk, contact a local professional pest removal company. Rarely, cities offer free municipality pest extraction services.