How to Keep Skunks Away From a House With No Chemicals

Keep skunks away from your home to keep your family and pets safe.
Keep skunks away from your home to keep your family and pets safe. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Skunks are unwelcome pests that often hang around homes in search of food. When the animals are threatened, they will release an unpleasant scent that lingers for several days. Skunks also will create holes in lawns when they burrow. People often wish to remove skunks because they can carry rabies and transmit other diseases to both humans and animals. Commercial chemicals and repellents are not recommended for use on skunks. The pests can be controlled using more humane methods.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspapers
  • Wire mesh, concrete or sheet metal
  • Motion sensor lights or strobe lights
  • Bowls or dishes
  • Washcloths
  • Ammonia
  • Skunk traps
  • Bait
  • Burlap

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Place lids on garbage cans tightly so that skunks cannot open them easily. Skunks may go through your garbage and find food, which will make them more likely to hang around your home. Bring any pet food and water indoors at night. Leaving the food outdoors will attract the skunks to your yard.

Seal holes and openings along foundations, which give the skunk a place to burrow and hide. Place newspapers in the hole during the day before you close it to ensure that the skunk currently does not reside in the foundation. According to the University of Illinois extension service, if the newspaper does not appear to have moved, you can seal the opening with wire mesh, concrete or sheet metal.

Place motion sensor lights or strobe lights in the backyard to scare the skunks. This is not totally effective, but it can work on occasion.

Fill bowls or dishes with rags soaked in ammonia. Place the bowls in locations where you have noticed the skunks. The odor will deter the skunks.

Set a baited trap 9 by 9 by 24 inches or smaller to catch skunks. Bait the traps with bacon, bread or peanut butter for best results, or use apples and mayonnaise, which is less attractive to cats. Wrap the trap with heavy burlap and transport the skunk to a location approved by your state or Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Call the DNR to pick up the skunk if you do not know what to do with the creature.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hire a wildlife control operator to remove the skunk from your property if you cannot control them successfully.
  • Most states require that you have a removal permit before you can trap a skunk. Always contact the DNR to check on the legal status of capturing skunks.


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