Have you seen a skunk? If yes, have you smelled the animal’s “spray”? If you have smelled one, I know for sure that it was not a beautiful experience for you. The skunk spray is very malodorous and can stick to the clothes for weeks. If this is one of the many reasons why you are so afraid of seeing a skunk in your backyard, then there is no good reason at all to let those skunks stay at your property. So, how do you get rid of skunks?
Skunks are mammals. They are famously known for their ability to secrete a strong and malodorous liquid. Their appearance differs from species to species where some skunks have black and white fur while some have brown and cream. Skunks belong to the family Mephitidae and order Carnivora. There are 12 species of skunks which are divided into four genera which are Mephitis, Spilogale, Mydaus, and Conepatus.
Skunks are omnivorous which means that eat both plants and animals. Their diet changes as the season change. They eat insects, earthworms, lizards, snakes, moles, birds, berries, leaves, roots, nuts, fungi, and grasses. In developed areas where skunks are present, skunk consumes human garbage and pet foods. Skunks also dig holes in lawns in search for grubs (beetle larva) and worms.
The most notorious feature of skunks is their anal scent glands which they commonly used as a defensive weapon. Skunks have two glands which are located on either side of their anus. These glands produce sulfur-containing chemicals such as methyl and butyl thiols which have offensive smell that can be described as a combination of rotten egg, garlic and burnt rubber. The strong odor of this fluid can ward off large predators such as bears. This malodorous fluid is very difficult to remove from clothing. The fluid is so strong that it can be detected by a human nose anywhere up to a mile.
Skunks have the capability to spray this malodorous fluid with great accuracy as far as 10 feet. The muscles located next to the anal scent glands of the skunk make this possible. Aside from the smell, the spray can cause irritation and temporary blindness. Because of these, homeowners tend to get rid of skunks that are invading their lawn or backyard.
There are numerous ways that can be done in order to get rid of skunks. Below are some of those.
1. Know why skunks are in your backyard. If you have hollow logs, wood piles, hay piles or tree stumps in your back yard, then you might have an idea why skunks love to stay in your property. Skunks usually use these materials as the foundation of their home. So if you would love to get rid of them, try to get rid of these housing materials first at your back yard.
2. Remove garbage and other source of foods. Skunks in developed cities tend to get their food in unguarded waste bin. Foods are essential for living and skunks love to live in areas where there is abundant food. With that in mind, you can now work your way in getting rid of skunks. Proper disposal and proper sealing of garbage bin prevents the skunk from shopping foods near your house thus could motivate them to transfer to other places where food is abundant. Also, try not to leave pet foods outside your house. See to it that after feeding your pets, dispose their leftovers properly so to avoid attracting skunks.
3. Moth balls. Mothballs are found effective to wade off skunks but impose risks for pets and children in the house. Small kids could mistakenly identify it as a candy and eat it. Mothballs are very dangerous when consumed. Skunks do not like the smell of mothballs and if it is present in the surroundings of the house, they would not have any choice but to retreat to the forest.
4. Skunk barriers. Erect barriers in areas that may attract skunks especially in areas that can house a skunk. Remember, skunks can get through openings as small as four inches. You can enclose an open area with a three inches wire mesh so to make sure that skunks could not get in.
5. Skunk traps. There are skunk traps that are available today. This trap has a one way opening. In using this trap, first place a food at the edge of the trap. Then place this in areas where skunks are thought to pass by frequently. When the skunk gets in, the door shuts down thus traps the skunk in. The trap is engineered perfectly for the skunk smell. In case the skunk would spray a malodorous liquid, the smell is trapped in thus could not affect the person holding the trap. Once the skunk is trapped, you can call your local humane society or animal service provider so to deal with the skunk. They can release the skunk in the forest or place it in a more secured area like the zoo.