Disease concerns occur when skunks take up residence in an urban or suburban setting. In California, skunks are one of the most common carriers of rabies, a viral disease transmitted by the bite of an infected animal. Skunks can also be carriers of other diseases including leptospirosis, listeriosis, canine distemper, canine hepatitis, Q-fever, and tularemiacan be active during the daytime, particularly in human-use areas. Spotted skunks rarely venture out during the daytime. Both skunk species consume a highly-varied diet including insects, grubs, earthworms, small rodents, snakes, lizards, frogs, mushrooms, berries and fruit, pet food, and garbage. Skunks will also opportunistically feed on bird eggs, which can result in substantial losses to ground-nesting birds when skunk densities are high. Food items found in their diet will vary seasonally depending on availability.
How To Get Rid of Skunks
I am a Professional Skunk Trapper and I have performed hundreds of skunk trapping and removal jobs in the Bay Area from San Mateo to Healdsburg. I have seen Skunks in all sorts of situations from under decks, homes and shed to Animals stuck behind retaining walls. Every situation presents a different problem. Sometimes the problems are solved as easily as setting a fence board into a Window Well to allow the Skunk to walk out on it’s own. Other times it calls for someone crawling under a deck and securing a barrier to ensure the skunk comes right to trap.
The best way to get rid of Skunks is By trapping and Removing them. There is No Magic Spray or Solution you can put out to get Rid of Skunks. Repellants do not work, you must trap and remove them if you want them gone.
In short, the best way to get rid of skunks is via live trapping and removal. You can also install exclusion barriers to keep them from going under your shed, deck, porch, etc. There is no effective skunk repellent spray or powder or device. Luckily, it's not hard to trap them without them spraying you. Read the below for more in-detail tips to get rid of skunks.
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Identifying Skunk Activity
Digging Next to an outside wall of home. Skunks Like to Burrow under buildings, Sheds, Houses, Garages. If you notice Dirt dug out from under a structure and pushed into a pile at the base of a hole or opening that is usually 3” to 4” in diameter. they can be larger then that but for the most part they need to be that size for skunks to comfortably move through them. That being said I have seen on video Skunks Squeeze through openings significantly Smaller on a broken foundation vent.
Small Holes in Yard or Landscape. Skunks like to dig for grubs and worms and insects in your yard and landscaping. In doing this they will leave small little holes in your yard. I have had clients in the past mistake these small holes for Squirrel activity. I put out cameras and showed him video of the skunks digging in his yard.
Strong Smell. Skunks Produce a strong odor called Musk. They Produce this Musk in two glands located near the Skunks Rear end. They Spray this Musk When they feel threatened by another animal or person. I get a lot of call from clients who have strong Skunk Smell coming from there Crawl space. They are usually under the incorrect assumption that a skunk sprayed under their home just to spray or that the Skunk is always that smelly. I unfortunately have to inform them that what most likely happened was either the skunk had made a den under the home and another animal came into its space which caused the skunk to spray, or the Skunk was new to the space and encountered another animals den.
Broken Foundation Vent. Skunks Along with other Wildlife like too den in crawl spaces of homes. As mentioned previously they dig under the outside walls of homes if the home is sitting on footings and not a poured foundation. They will also utilize broken foundation vent as access points to gain entry.
Dirt on siding and corners of siding. Skunks and other animals leave dirty oil from their coats on things they brush up against.Skunks will a lot of times walk right up on buildings, following the contours of the buildings, leaving dirt brushed up on corners. Also when an animal is using a specific spot to gain access a lot of times the area around that spot will be dirty. It will look dirty in such a way that the rest of the surrounding areas don’t. It is an easily identifiable sign of Wildlife activity.
Tracks. Skunk tracks show five toes on the front foot and five on the hind foot. The front tracks usually show claw marks farther ahead of the toe marks than the rear prints do. This is because the skunk has longer claws on the front feet to use in digging up roots and insects.
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Skunks Getting Under a Home Removing Skunks From a Crawl Space How to Remove Skunks from a Crawl Space
Most People Find out they have a Skunks in their crawl space when they smell them. If you find yourself in this type of situation don’t fear, I am going to give you the step by step on how I get them out and keep them out.
Find out where the skunks are getting in. It could be a very obvious foundation vent out in the open in an easily accessible spot. Or it could be under a low rise deck where the only option to it is remove deck boards.
Make sure there is only one access point, if there is a second access and it is all connected to the common crawl space you will want to seal it up before you do anything else. If the second access point is on an addition that doesn’t have the same access to the main crawl space, I.e. it has it’s own official crawl space entrance for maintenance then you will want to set traps at this point as well.
Now you have the house inspected and all other access points sealed up you will want to put 2 traps at the access point weather it is a hole under the foundation or a broken foundation vent. If a foundation vent I like to set my traps up in such a way that the bottom of the trap is sitting level with the bottom of the vent. I use cinder blocks when possible set under a piece of plywood. I almost always set two traps splitting the vent, this allows the traps to but up against the house on either side of the vent and keeps the skunks from avoiding the trap and sneaking out the side.
If the Skunks are using a hole dug under the outer wall of the house and into the crawl space you can’t set the traps up against the house or you will block the hole with the bottom of the trap. You will want to set the traps back 10-12 inches from the hole on top of a piece of plywood. The plywood will help present your bait and will make cleaning up after you remove the Raccoon a whole lot easier. The plywood will also keep any animals on the outside of the trap from digging under the trap and stealing your bait from below.
I put vinyl covers over my traps just in case there is an unexpected Skunk under the home. I would for sure have these traps covered with something. You will avoid a huge headache in the morning if you find a Skunk in your trap.
You will want to cut some more plywood the height of your traps. My traps are 12” high by 10” wide. So I cut all my plywood 12”, this way I can set any piece under a trap or next to it which allows me to isolate a space coming out of a hole to funnel animals into my traps and keep them from sneaking out the side. At this point I also set a piece of plywood across the top of the opening resting on the tops of the traps and the 2 pieces of plywood along the sides.
I set Anything heavy on the top piece of Plywood and next to the side pieces. This keeps skunks from pushing them out and sneaking out instead of into the traps.
I place just a bit (a few pieces of kibble) of cat food just inside the opening of the foundation vent or hole. This way the Skunks will at least get some bait right infront of them right away and it may get there appetite fired up and make them more willing to venture into the back of the trap where the main bait pile is waiting for them.
At this point your traps should be set, covered, baited, and secured with either Cinder blocks or some type of heavy object. You should be all set until morning when you will check the traps at first light and quietly and carefully remove the Skunks.
If you need a Skunk Removed From a Crawl Space Call Ryan at Taylor’s Trapping Service today and Schedule an Appointment. 707-761-3055
Your Northern California animal trapping and removal service.
Taylor's Trapping Service is a full-service company offering wildlife control for home and commercial building owners. If you have unwanted wildlife in your attic, crawl space or in your lawn or vicinity please give us a call. We will remove the animal from the premises, find where they are entering and help you make repairs to keep them out in the future or advise you on the best possible ways to keep them from entering again.