Skunk Den Identification and How to Get Rid of One

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Skunks are non-aggressive animals famous for their unique self-defense mechanism. Their smelly spray has a distinct, easily recognizable odor. If you often catch a whiff of this smell around your home, a skunk may have made a den nearby.

Let’s learn more about where skunks live, how to identify a skunk den, and how to get rid of it.

See Also: How to Get Rid of Skunks Permanently

How to Find a Skunk Den

Where Do Skunks Live?

Before starting to look around for an animal den, you should know that any type of skunk loves to stay in the abandoned holes left behind by some other burrowing pests. They can also choose to make a den for their baby skunks under porches, decks, or sheds.

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The dens are used by adult skunks when they give birth to the babies in spring. During winter, they also build these homes to avoid the cold weather. A den can shelter as many as 20 skunks, and they can use wood piles, rock heaps or any other crawl spaces found under people’s homes.

Here you can see what the home of this animal looks like and how do they behave:

skunk den

How to Locate a Skunk Den

If you’ve seen skunks quite often around your home, they might have made a den near that area. Here you have a couple of steps to follow if you want to locate the animal den:

  1. Place a strong-smelling food in the area where you’ve seen the skunk. It can be peanut butter, for instance, or any other type of food that smells good and might attract them.
  2. Spread some flour around the food. The skunk will come to get the food and will leave flour tracks all the way back to the den.
  3. Put on some protective clothing, as well as goggles, and follow the tracks to the den. Remember that a skunk can spray even if it’s 10 feet away, so try to keep the distance. But they’ll make some warning sounds first if you’re paying attention.
  4. Now you should see if the skunks are still there in the hole. For this purpose, fill the den with newspapers.
  5. Come back in 24 hours and see if the paper was removed by the animals.
  6. If they are still there, now is the time to think what can you do to free your home from skunks.

Alternatively, if you already have an excavated area which you suspect might belong to skunks, there is another option. Fill in a part of the hole with some loose dirt.

Check back in a couple of days and if the hole was reopened and the dirt is now gone, most likely there are skunks around. A solution to this is to seal or fence the area completely so that they can’t make a den again.

See Also: 13 Interesting Facts About Skunks

How to Get Rid of a Skunk Den

Now that you know for sure there is a skunk den under your home or next to it, you should ask yourself how to get rid of it.

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Solution #1: Professional Help

The simplest solution is to ask a trained wildlife specialist for help. Attempting to capture wild animals without proper training is inadvisable. Aside from the risk of being sprayed with their pungent odor, skunks may carry rabies or other parasites that could harm you.

After the specialist removes the skunks, take steps to prevent their return. Fill the former skunk den with ammonia-soaked rags. This helps deter skunks. Also, use dirt and rocks to completely seal off the animal hole. This prevents future skunks from moving in.

Solution #2: Use a Humane Harassment Method

Mother skunks prefer quiet, dark dens to keep their babies safe. If an area becomes too loud, bright, or smelly, skunks will leave with their babies. Harassment techniques should be placed at the den entrance to bother skunks each time they enter or exit. Options include:

  • Smell – Soak rags in apple cider vinegar or ammonia and place in a perforated plastic bag. Hang the smelly bag by the den entrance. Alternatively, use dirty kitty litter instead of rags. The urine smell makes skunks feel unsafe.
  • Light – Position a bright light by the entrance, taking care not to cause a fire. Skunks dislike bright lights in their dens.
  • Sound – A radio talk station can deter skunks. While music won’t harm them, human voices signal a threat. Use caution with talk radio.

After using one of these for 3 days/nights, do the newspaper test to confirm if skunks have left.

Preventing Skunk Dens

The best solution is stopping skunk dens from developing in the first place. Here are some tips to make your home and yard less welcoming to skunks:

Eliminate Food Sources

  • Keep trash in sealed bins that skunks cannot access.
  • Clean up fallen fruit, bird seed, and other potential skunk food.
  • Store pet food indoors rather than leaving it outside.

Install Physical Barriers

  • Fence off crawl spaces under sheds, porches, decks, etc.
  • Use wire mesh to seal foundation vents and access holes.
  • Clear brush and wood piles around the home. This eliminates shelter spots.

Manage Waste

  • Make sure trash and recycling bins have secure lids.
  • If you have a compost pile, contain it in an enclosed bin.
  • Pick up pet waste promptly from yards.

Deter with Smells

  • Place ammonia-soaked rags or vinegar around foundation openings. Refresh smells monthly.
  • Sprinkling predator urine granules may also discourage skunks. Reapply every 2-4 weeks.

Checking for and blocking access points before skunks move in can prevent so much future trouble. Be proactive to keep your home skunk-free!

What NOT to Do

Live Trapping

Trapping skunks and relocating them may seem humane but often decreases their survival rate. Relocated mother skunks typically abandon their young, leaving them orphaned. Even if she moves them, most mothers abandon the babies in an unfamiliar new territory.

Install One-Way Doors

One-way doors work best between September-December when baby skunks are less likely inside. From April-September, mothers and babies may get trapped inside. In winter, an ousted skunk struggles to dig a new den.

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Before installing doors, ensure babies are mobile enough to follow their mother out.


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