How to Keep a Skunk in a Trap From Spraying While Moving It

Striped skunk
Striped skunk (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Few people want to get up close and personal with a skunk, especially with a not-so-happy trapped skunk. As a defense against predators, skunks spray a potent liquid (called musk) from glands under their tails. Anyone and anything on the receiving end will stink for days. A trapped skunk is stressed and, since it has nowhere to hide, will likely spray anyone approaching the trap. However, with a little patience and a few simple materials, anyone can move a trapped skunk without getting sprayed.

Things You'll Need

  • Thick leather gloves
  • Old blanket or extra-large towel (large enough to cover the trap on all sides)
  • A change of old clothes
  • Pair of old, closed-toe shoes
  • 2-3 large garbage bags

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Change into old clothes and shoes, and put on leather gloves.

Clear the area of other people and animals.

Approach the trap from the upwind side so the scent drifts away from you if the skunk sprays. Raise the blanket or towel in front of you and slowly — approximately one step every three seconds — and quietly walk toward the trap.

Slowly, taking 5 to 10 seconds, lower the blanket or towel over the trap so that the entire trap is covered by the cloth.

Leave the covering in place, and gently pick up the trap by the handle to move the trap. Keep the trap level, and avoid sudden changes of direction while carrying the trap.

Place the covering and old clothes in the large garbage bags until they can be washed.

Tips & Warnings

  • A skunk may warn you that it is about to spray by stomping its feet or raising its back end in the air. If you see this, slowly back away a few steps and give it time to calm down. Then re-try your approach.
  • Keeping people and pets far away from the trap not only reduces the stress on the skunk, but also eliminates the chance of others getting sprayed.
  • Skunks can carry rabies and are able to scratch and bite through the sides of the trap. Always wear leather gloves and closed-toe shoes and only pick up the trap by the handle to reduce your chances of being injured.
  • In some states, it is illegal to relocate trapped animals. Check with the state wildlife commission or call the local animal control to learn the rules for your area.


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