How to Get Rid of Skunks Under Deck?

  • Have you noticed weird animal noises under your deck or shed in the night, and it’s not your cat? Or maybe you’ve seen a skunk living near your property or around your yard? 
  • We explain how to remove skunks from their house underneath a shed, deck, or porch of your house. You can get rid of these animals from your property if you control and follow our methods. Go for a urine odor (of their natural enemy) represented by ammonia. Beat skunks down with solid lights or sounds. Be sure to cover your trash in garbage cans as well.  
  • We share methods to prevent skunks from eating food from the trash and other food sources around your house and yard. We don’t want skunks to dig holes in the ground of your garden, either. Prevention is everything!
  • Ensure that you don’t get sprayed by a skunk in the meantime. A skunks odor is the last thing you want to wear on your outfit! So steer away from trapping skunks. Skunks removal should be wise.

What’s the skunk problem, and how to deal with it?

Skunks look cute but humane society prefers to avoid these animals. Why is it so? 

Smell

It’s mainly for the unpleasant smell they spray at the enemy when faced with danger. If they feel it’s a trap, they will answer with fire!

Skunks perceive humans as their biggest threat, so sadly, the spray will follow. 

And trust us, you don’t want to get in contact with this spray smell.

Bad behavior

But that’s not the only reason why our relationship with skunks isn’t the best one. 

You can find these adorable creatures around the perimeter of your property, mainly during the night. 

Unfortunately, they have an unpleasant habit of digging holes and up-ending plants.

This is not really the kind of guest you would invite for a barbecue, is it?

So the question is what to do and what not to do when this tricky animal player starts to peek at our beloved yard or deck.

Skunks are pesky, and they know it. 

That’s why our co-being in urban areas (let’s put it clearly: our houses) is a constant battle between humane and wildlife. 

And since we’re not going anywhere and want to get decks of our houses back for our sole use (like the old gold times), we need to act. 

Let’s take control over our properties and find out the way to get rid of skunks.

Why do skunks take advantage of our houses?

As usually in nature, there is a reason for everything. 

Skunks inhabit cavities under our decks and sheds of our house to raise their animal children. So it’s natural for them to look for shelter in this period. Their search for the safe ground is not directed against us. It’s just how wildlife functions.  

When skunk youngsters are old enough to survive by themselves, they leave a property in an instant; and in peace. 

You got it! They use your house as a maternity hospital and hotel. 

Skunks reproduce in the summer period. So if you see this animal stick around your house these months, you can rest calm. It has babies, and it needs some peace and shelter. 

Skunk toddlers take about eight weeks (two months) to leave their den.

You can fight with them or handle them for some time. The choice is yours. 

When the skunk youngsters are old enough to leave, seal off their entry hole with hardware cloth.

It will keep them away from coming back in the new generation of skunks. Or should we rather say skunk problems?

Skunks also dig burrows to live in semi-hibernation there during the winter months. 

There is no baby-related excuse here, ladies and gentlemen.

How to keep skunks away from our housing? 

It’s essential not to let skunks know that our deck or garden can be used to their benefit. 

Prevention is the best thing you can do when it comes to dealing with skunks.

Pros of having skunks on your property

But it’s not all bad. 

Why would you like to get rid of skunks if they can be pretty helpful?

Just think about it. 70% of skunks diet comprises:

  • insects, and 
  • small rodents;

These are a nuisance to us as well!  

In that light, it appears that skunks are our allies.

Cons of having skunks on your property

However, there are much more disadvantages to having these animals around. 

Let’s take a look at several of them:

1. The rabies virus. Long time no see, in the face of other viruses, but rabies still exist among animals. 

And skunks can carry it.

If a skunk you meet in your yard acts aggressively, run.  

Another sign of rabies is that a skunk is ranging far from its place in broad day light.

2. These animals aren’t classy! Their favorite thing to do is tearing apart garbage bags and knocking over bins. 

It’s not precisely for fun but to find food, nevertheless, not the most elegant behavior. 

Skunks will eat anything, from insects to worms, eggs, fruit, nuts, and more. 

So don’t be surprised if they stick around your yard for some time. Our trash is a source of full-fledged nourishment for them.

3. This one knows every child. When a skunk feels threatened, it lifts its tail and sprays a smelly liquid at its enemy. The range is as far as 6 meters. So be aware that getting sprayed with odor is likely to take place if you meet a skunk. 

4. Skunks (the same with raccoons) turn up sod in yards looking for white grubs. 

If you’re here, you probably already know that it leaves cone-shaped, 7-10 cm wide holes in the ground of your garden.

What not to do to get rid of a skunk under your deck?

Try not to be too cruel to them. 

Avoid trapping, aggressively relocating, or installing “smart” doors that trap them and keep them away from their den entrance. 

Keep skunks away but let them survive the encounter with you and your property. 

If not for empathy or sympathy (we understand they got on your nerves enough already), mind the general animal control rules and laws for wildlife removal. 

Trap

We don’t recommend trapping because starving young are likely to be left behind. 

If you try to trap them:

  • you expose yourself to getting sprayed and possibly bitten, 
  • you ensure a death sentence for the skunk and, therefore, for young skunks.

Relocating 

Trapping and relocating the skunk is not a good idea when dealing with skunk problems. 

Keep in mind that skunks will likely not survive the shock of being removed from their home environment.

In some states (like Ontario), it’s illegal to move wildlife more than 1km from where it was found.

One-way door

Some people believe that putting up the one-way door to the skunks den is a good idea; so that the skunk can get out but not get back in. 

Again, be humane and imagine the drama. 

The one-way door will exclude a mother skunk and leave baby skunks trapped inside.

If baby skunks aren’t old enough to change the place by themselves, they will starve to death without their momma. 

This idea is quite good for the fall period, though. 

Before the winter comes, the ground is still thawed enough for a skunk to dig a new den. 

From December, skunks may not be able to find or dig a new shelter anymore.

How to make skunks leave your house and not get sprayed?

Skunks on your property put you at the risk of being sprayed and your garden and deck being destroyed.

There are several ways to keep skunks away.

Wait for the skunks to leave 

Waiting for skunks to leave your property as part of their natural life cycle is the easiest way.

Skunks will remove themselves after they’ve nurtured their babies. So if you wait, your skunk problem will disappear without any effort. 

Light: Shine lights into the den

Skunks are scared of bright lights.

Something as simple as light can make your cohabiting skunks leave. 

Lights are great for us, but for skunks? Not necessarily. 

Keeping your yard full of light is also great to prevent these ungracious animals from making their den under your deck.

So both removal of skunks that are already in and prevention from making them come to live with us!

You can:

  • leave your exterior lights in the garden on, or 
  • install motion light sensors;

Sound: Put a radio on the floor and turn it on

It sounds like a way to get rid of your grandpa from the house, but it actually works wonders for saying goodbye to skunks. 

When you turn your radio on, point the speaker toward the ground. 

It’s another clever way of getting rid of skunks as they avoid loud noises. 

Smell: Spray skunk repellents or poke ammonia

Repellents are not one of the kindest and most gentle methods, but, hey! It’s your house, not theirs. 

Spray repellents that remind skunks or urine around your shed or deck to get rid of them. 

It’s a way of showing these animals that you own the place. 

These skunk repellents like ammonia have a urine smell that is a natural message to keep skunks away. 

Soak some rags in apple cider vinegar or ammonia (natural repellents), and put them in a plastic bag around the perimeter of the skunks living area. 

Poke holes in the bag (it will enhance the nasty smell to escape). Then, hang the bag next to the entrance of the temporary skunks house. 

Tip: How to make a DIY repellent? Boil a chopped onion, a chopped jalapeno, and one tablespoon of cayenne pepper in two quarts of water for about 20 minutes. Then, strain the liquid into a spray bottle and squirt plants to make skunks steer clear. Each dose should last up to five days.

Also, you can poke some ammonia sprinkled rags underneath the skunks den.

Block the opening of the skunks house with rags soaked in an animal-repellent liquid. Do it in day light while the skunks are asleep.

When they wake up for the night activity, it will help you get rid of them. 

Repeat for ten days or so to make them understand the message.

Important: These liquids smell like a predator’s urine. Mother skunk doesn’t feel safe when this smell is around, so she may decide to leave.


Remove food sources 

Mind that “your” skunks can survive on your property because they have food. Your yard and trash provide them a steady supply of food. 

It’s simple: they will find no interest in inhabiting your house if you manage to cut them off from the food sources. 

So get rid of all the natural food sources around the area.

1. If you have trees in the garden that produce nuts or berries:

  • clean the area around regularly
  • use a rake to get rid of all berries or fruits that might have fallen on the ground, 
  • pack them up in a sealed bag before you throw them in the garbage bin;

2. Even something as tiny as clippings of grass needs to be discarded regularly. Skunks will eat seeds with pleasure.

3. If you have a garden with vegetables and fruits, consider harvesting the ripe ones from the ground as quickly as possible.

4. Put up bird feeders at elevated heights. Skunks aren’t good climbers. 

Skunks won’t climb up to tear down the birds’ nest, but they will eat seeds dropped on the ground. So place a tray underneath the bird feeder and clean dropped seeds often.

5. Remove the cat food that you keep outside your house. 

Don’t let pet food (like cat food) become pest food. 

Instead, feed your pets indoors and clean up leftovers meticulously. 

When it comes to your pets, dogs or cat, supervise where they spend time until a skunk is around. 

A foul smell is a skunk’s only real defense. Cats and dogs that get on skunks nerves will come home with an unbearable smell. 

Get rid of the insects

It’s hard to decide whether you want your skunks to stay and take care of pest control or you wish to get rid of them and set traps on insects by yourself. 

Skunks will feed off the insects in your garden and house, so that can be beneficial to you. 

On the other hand, remind yourself of all the trouble that comes with this animal. 

If you choose to get rid of skunks and don’t want to keep natural insects and wildlife in your garden, simply cut the grass. They tend to live in tall grass. Cutting it will add to yard pest control. 

Cover your trash bin 

Cover trash cans with lids that fit tight.

Ensure that your garbage cans are in a secure location away from skunks. Also, guarantee that they can’t be easily tipped over. Finally, keep in mind that getting rid of skunks means cutting them off from food sources. 

Don’t leave kitchen scraps in your compost or, even better, keep it well covered at all times.

Block the entrance to the skunk den

Once the skunk is gone because of the light, sound, or smell, block the access hole to the den, so it won’t be able to come back. 

You can use:

  • chicken wire, 
  • sheet metal, etc

Important: Don’t do it in the summer when you know that skunk kids are left alone inside. It will inevitably cause them to starve to death.

Install a fence

Skunks aren’t good at climbing or jumping. 

Install a three-foot fence, and you can be sure they won’t be able to overcome this obstacle. 

Whatever kind of installation you create, be sure to go deep. 

As skunks aren’t great when it comes to heights, they can dig well and burrow under a shallow barrier. 

Skunks are the size of a large house cat, but boy, can they squeeze!

Provide your fence a tight hole set (even as small as 4 inches wide).

Install an underground wire mesh fence 

If “your” skunks have seriously got on your nerves this year, you want to get rid of the slightest possibility of having them on board again. 

Try these methods for the removal of skunks and to protect your sheds or decks.

Important: But first, make sure any animals already living under the shed or deck have left.

Here is what to do:

1. Dig a 12”x12” trench around the shed or deck.

2. Secure a piece of ¼” wire mesh along the bottom of the hole.

3. Angle the mesh straight down into the ground for 8”-12.” 

4. Bend the mesh outward (away from the shed walls) at a 90-degree angle to create an “L” shape.  

5. Refill the trench. 

Cage: Capture a skunk outside its den 

It is also possible to capture a skunk outside its den.

To do it, you’ll need a special cage.

It has to be low enough to keep it from lifting its tail once it is trapped. 

After you caught a skunk, transport it far away from your property. 

You can rent such a cage from pest control specialists.

Related articles

Frequently Asked Questions

Skunks inhabit your property to raise their offspring between April and September.
Skunks find shelter under homes and decks because they can find more food under there than they would in the forest. If you have a vegetable garden, think about covering and fencing it properly. Skunks like feasting on the insects that are found in tall grass, so keep it short. These animals will also be happy to dive into your garbage bins as they would in compost piles. Cover them if you don't want to attract skunks.
Do a paper test. When you think skunks are gone, stuff the entrance with balled-up newspaper or tape a double sheet of newspaper over the hole. If the paper is in place for the following three days, they're probably gone for good.
Leave a Comment