Trapping Skunks: Everything You Need to Know
No one wants to have to deal with skunks on their property, getting into the garbage cans and leaving their stink behind. If you have ever been sprayed by a skunk, it’s not something that you will soon forget and the scent lingers for what seems like forever. The scent is what makes many people afraid to even try trapping a skunk themselves, but the alternative option of just letting them go about their business is an even more frightening thought. In reality, trapping a skunk isn’t as hard as you might think. The best way to get a skunk off of your property is by physically trapping it and removing it from your property.
However, many of us feel that since the skunk has truly done no wrong, that the skunk should come to no harm when it’s being removed. Therefore, we don’t believe in setting out any type of poison for the skunk to get into or shooting it with the BB gun. So, what’s left, other than paying to have the professionals come out and take care of the problem for you? Who wants to admit they have been defeated by a mere, tiny skunk and call in extra reinforcements? No one, that’s who!
With that in mind, read on below for everything you need to know about trapping the skunks that are plaguing your property and then removing them safely, so neither of you is harmed.
Select the Right Skunk Trap
The first thing you need to do is select the proper skunk trap to do the job. You don’t want something that is super-flimsy, because the skunk is going to take the bait, get out of the trap and go about his business until he’s ready to raid your trap once more. The best live traps for skunks come in medium to large sizes You can choose from one door or two-door model. The one door model comes with its own set of pros and cons, of course. The advantage of this model is that the skunks are more likely to enter the trap, it’s favored by many professionals, and offers better protection of your bait. The two-door model has two doors for the skunk to enter in through, meaning you have more of a chance of success. It is also possible to set the trap with just one door open, or both doors open, the choice is yours.
You need a trap that is solid, so you don’t have to worry about the skunk spraying you defensively when you go to get him out or get close to the cage.
Determine Where to Set the Traps
It’s important to scout the location where you are going to be setting the traps to see where the skunks have been spotted and are doing the most damage. Skunks often take shelter in places such as:
- Hollow logs
- Brush piles
- Tree logs
- Underneath structures
- And in burrows
Check all of these areas to determine where the most damage is. This is where you will want to set out your traps. If for some reason, you are unable to locate where your skunk is most, try placing the trap at least five to ten feet from the entrance. You need the trap to be on solid, even ground, so it doesn’t easily tip over when the skunk tries to get out and let the skunk free. If this happens, you will have to reset the bait and the trap and start the waiting game once again.
The last thing you want to do is set the trap and just leave it be. Skunks are highly intelligent animals and if they see a trap sitting there, they aren’t going to go into it. You need to cover the trap, making it almost look and feel like a den that the skunk would want to stay in, so they feel at home and will go after the bait.
Choose and Bait Your Skunk Trap
In order to be able to bait your skunk trap, you are going to have to have the right bait to put in it, to begin with. Not only do you have to choose a bait that is appealing to the skunk, but it also has to be placed properly as well. The best selections for skunk bait are listed below for your perusal.
- Oily meats
- Dry cat foods
- Bread that is coated with peanut butter
Not only are these foods things that the skunk likes the taste of, but they also put off a smell that the skunk’s sensitive nose will pick up quickly and find enticing.
Now, that you know what type of skunk bait to use, it’s time to move on to how to place that bait in your trap. You must place the bait in just the location that it not only lures the skunk into the trap but makes sure that the animal steps on the pressure plate that closes the trap as well. There are quite a few tips out there for how to bait a skunk trap that you might want to check into to help you set it up the way you should.
Set Your Trap
Now that you have gotten the correct trap, chose your bait and your location, it’s time to set the trap and get it ready to go. It’s important at this point to note that skunks are nocturnal animals, so your trap needs to be set at dusk or later on in the evening. Of course, this is no guarantee that your trap isn’t going to be empty the next morning. If the trap is empty the next morning, make sure you close to a door to keep other critters from wandering in and reset the trap the next evening, hoping for better success the next morning.
Make Sure to Monitor Your Trap
It’s extremely important to monitor your live trap constantly to ensure that when you catch a skunk they are not just trapped there for a long time. The skunk is going to become frightened when it’s trapped and even anxious if it’s left in the trap for long. It’s also going to be without food and water, which can be fatal to the skunk. Make sure to check your trap and let the skunk free in another location, as soon as possible, preferably, the very next morning.
What Do You Do When the Skunk is Caught?
When you go out to the trap the next morning and there is a little black and white skunk staring back at you from behind the bars, you might be a little concerned as to what you need to do next. The last thing you want is to be sprayed by a skunk and have to sit in a bath of tomato juice for the rest of the day. Your best bet is not to startle the skunk, as that is what causes them to spray. How do you do that? Read on below to find out.
- Grab a blanket, that you don’t mind throwing away if it gets sprayed before you leave the house. Drape the blanket in front of your body from your shoulders to your feet, when you see from a distance, that you have indeed captured a skunk.
- Next, you want to move slowly towards the cage where the skunk is. As you do this, shuffle your feet and hum or talk softly, so the skunk knows that you’re there and is not startled when you get close to the cage.
- Once in front of the cage, gently place the blanket over the cage, as most skunks will not spray what they can’t see.
- When picking up the trap, handle it gently and move at a slow pace to your car. Make sure that you check your local laws before this next step. If the law allows put the cage in your car and release the skunk at least 10 miles from your home, so he won’t return.
- For added protection, make sure to put a garbage bag flat in the car to put the cage on, just in case something startles the skunk and he sprays. That way you won’t have a big mess to clean up.
If you follow these steps, you should have no problem setting up a trap and catching the skunk that is plaguing your property. But that isn’t all you should do. You need to remove the things that bring lure the skunks to your property, to begin with. These things are listed below as well.
Remove the Stuff that Attracts the Skunks
The first thing you need to do to prevent the skunks from coming back to your property is to remove the shelter and food that they are attracted to. Start by cleaning up all berries, seeds, and fruits that may have fallen onto your property, as skunks are attracted to the smell and they are food to them after all.
Keep all garbage cleaned up around your property and be sure to keep tight, locking lids on your garbage containers.
Make sure to close off any openings and access to garages, chicken and hen houses, sheds, and barns, as skunks can easily set up dens in these places.
Make sure to fill in any skunk dens you find on your property or surround them with wire mesh so they can’t be used again.
Now, that you know how to trap a skunk and remove them from your property without being sprayed, read on below for a few of the top things you should know about skunks as well to help you in your quest to keep them away from your property.
They are Avid Climbers
If you wonder how a skunk got into your fenced off area, it’s because they are great climbers. They have long claws that make it easy for them to climb everything from chain link fencing to wood piles and from cars to your outdoor structures.
Skunks May Not Carry Rabies
Since skunks are basically loners, their solitary existence makes it highly unlikely that they will come in contact with a rabid animal. They can contract rabies if they do, but since they stay on their own most of the time, it’s doubtful that you have to worry about a skunk on your property being infected with rabies.
Skunks Actually Don’t Spray That Often
Contrary to popular belief, skunks actually spray rarely. They will spray if they are startled or feel that they have been threatened in any way. If you see a skunk, don’t automatically think you are going to be sprayed. Instead, keep quiet and don’t make any sudden movements, and the skunk will probably go on its merry way.
Skunks Can Become a Serious Pest
Like their brother the raccoon, skunks can easily become serious pests to a property owner. Not only do they get into your garbage, but they also burrow holes into people’s lawns and gardens and often confront household pets. It is possible that they will spray you or your pet if they feel startled or threatened, that is why it’s best to remove any skunk from your property safely and humanely.
In many states, it is better to not try to remove a skunk from your property yourself, which means that you need to call in the professionals in order to get the skunk removed safely, with no danger to you or the animal.
These are just a few of the top tips out there to help you remove a skunk from your property. From choosing the right trap to making sure you bait it the right way, make sure to follow these directions to ensure you are removing the skunk from your property the right way.
- HavaHart: How to Trap a Skunk
- Trap Anything: Trapping Skunks
- Green Leaf Organic: Skunks: 10 Things to Know