Are you struggling with skunks in your yard? You may not know if these animals have been visiting until it is too late: their smell can permeate your backyard and home with little prompting, and at all hours of the day or night!
If you are looking for some effective ways to keep skunks away from your yard, you’re in the right place. We’ve got 7 ideas for you to start, and you may find yourself thinking up even more ways than that!
But why exactly do skunks show up in people’s yards or gardens? And what can they do to your home besides make a stink? Let’s take a look at these nocturnal beings and how you can prevent their presence in the first place.
What Attracts Skunks to Your Yard?
Skunks may be attracted to your yard for a number of reasons. A skunk may be in your yard by accident, which often explains their scent lingering if they were surprised by an unsuspecting guard dog or human stumbling upon them!
However, skunks are often attracted to certain yards with a variety of crops, fruits, or bugs. Skunks can be helpful garden visitors in that they can eat harmful larvae or pests- but they can also eat your vegetable garden and flowers too!
Skunks may also be attracted to someone’s home because of their desire to burrow or make a den. For the most part, skunks seek out a homeowner’s rich earth (which is usually full of bugs they like to eat) or a garden for food, particularly corn.
No matter what, a skunk can cause problems in your own backyard- let’s take a look at some of those issues now.
Do Skunks Cause Property Damage?
Unfortunately for these little guys, skunks are known to cause more property damage than you might expect. Much like raccoons, skunks are found throughout the USA and Canada, often even in suburban or city limits. This can mean that they often run into people who aren’t expecting to see them!
Skunks can indeed cause property damage, and sometimes it can get extensive. These critters are known burrowers, and they can burrow as far as beneath the foundation of your home in search of a den or yummy meal!
Speaking of burrowing, these guys are notorious for tearing up gardens and lawns, anywhere with dirt and the potential of a good meal. This means garden beds, trees, under fences, and even potted plants are at risk.
Skunks can also spray your outdoor furnishings or garden if scared- this can include any edible crops, your home’s siding or deck, and even your outdoor furniture. While there are home remedies and commercial-grade products out there made to help with the smell of skunk spray, some outdoor furniture may not survive the attack.
Skunks can also hurt your pets, especially if a dog or a cat surprises them. They can spray, and even claw or bite our family pets if unsupervised. While it is always in self-defense and skunks would prefer not to interact with humans or other animals, attacks have been known to happen.
What if I Already Have Skunks in my Yard?
If you already have skunks in your yard, what can be done? You can use a number of options from our list below, but if you can’t get rid of them use a Havahart Trap. These traps are simple to use and make both capture and release of yard pests easy. Just be sure to bait it first!
If you are worried about getting sprayed, use THE SNARE SHOP Super Tuff Skunk Trap for a more protected catch! The catch and release method is always recommended for skunks, as they can be helpful creatures to have in many ecosystems.
You can also reach out to your local animal control or pest companies for help. Hire a pro if you don’t want to deal with removal! There’s no shame in not wanting to deal with these stinky pests all by yourself- let a professional handle it.
7 Ways How to Keep Skunks Away from Your Yard
Now that you know why a skunk might be in your yard and the potential damage one can cause, how might you be able to keep a skunk out of your yard from now on? Let’s take a look at some useful and affordable options now.
1. Skunk Odor Repellents
There are many different options for repelling skunks- most of them have to do with scent! Believe it or not, these stinky critters can be controlled or repelled using scents that we often find much more pleasant than they do.
Skunks often will stay away if you have strong scents in your yard such as:
- Predator urine
- peppermint oil
- chili peppers
- hot peppers
Predator urine may sound unbelievable or unpleasant, but it is a surefire way of repelling many local pests. You can purchase urine at hunting stores or on Amazon using this link. However, this is only one option of many! The more important question: how do you best use these products?
How Do You Use Odor Repellents?
The best way of using these products? Soak an old rag or towel and cut it up into smaller pieces. Place these around your property line or scatter them across your garden- skunks will smell whatever these rags have been soaked in and turn tail!
You can make a boil of a few different scents to maximize your effort- boil vinegar with hot pepper flakes and orange extract. Most of these products shouldn’t affect your garden in any way, so it should be safe for use around pets and children.
However, ammonia should be used with care- this product can be toxic to children and pets, so avoid using it if you have concerns, or always watch over your loved ones when using this product.
2. Motion Detected Sprinklers
A bit of a harsher punishment for skunks (but not too harsh, don’t worry!): purchase and install some motion-activated sprinklers. These handy devices are designed to turn on your garden water if disturbed by movement.
You can surprise some unsuspecting skunks with this product, and it should be enough to chase them away for a while or even for good. However, given the surprising nature of this product, you may end up scaring the skunk bad enough for it to spray. Keep this in mind when figuring out where to place your motion sensor and sprinkler!
3. Build a Fence (Wood or Wired)
Sometimes building a fence around your garden or property can be enough to discourage certain pests. Skunks can dig, so having a wired fence installed into the ground can prevent skunks best. You can choose to have a full wired fence top to bottom, or install the wired part under your wooden fence.
Ensuring that the fence is installed into the earth a foot or two is key to discouraging these burrowers. They can easily wiggle under most traditional fences, so keep this in mind. Some fences may end up being quite the investment, only to be thwarted by these tricky pests!
4. Animal Repellent Granules
There are many animal repellent products for you to purchase and use against a wide variety of pests- including skunks. These granules are usually made to be shaken around your yard, along the border of your fence, and more.
This particular product (available for purchase on Amazon) is chock full of pepper and hot pepper oil, making it undesirable to many animals. It both smells and tastes bad, which means it should more readily prevent pests from entering your yard.
This product in particular can also repel cats and dogs- it will not harm them, but keep it in mind if your pets also enjoy your garden or backyard area! You can also choose to sprinkle other household products that might be more affordable, such as cayenne, coffee grounds, and citrus peels.
5. Make Some Noise
Skunks often move on if they hear loud noises- sometimes if you suspect there is a skunk in your backyard, banging on a pot or pan might be the easiest way to go. Skunks will remember your home as a threat, and they may not return in the future.
You can also hang noisemakers from your trees, shrubs, or crops- skunks may nudge or crash into these as they move about your yard and get scared away. You can easily make these yourself, out of various scrap pieces of metal, shells, bells, or even noisy windchimes!
6. Bright Motion Sensor Lights
A simple and cost-effective way of preventing many different types of pests? Motion sensor lights, or even leaving your outdoor string lights on all night. Skunks and other nocturnal creatures will avoid most light, especially one that turns on suddenly when they move.
There are a wide variety of these available at your local hardware store or on Amazon. Keep an eye out for solar-powered options so that you never have to think twice about your electric bill! Install them beneath your deck or at your property line for a safe and effective skunk proofer!
7. Ultrasonic Animal Repellers
Did you know that there are ultrasonic animal repellers on the market? These advanced products often make up the best of most of these repellents, and you can customize them based on the size of the critter you are trying to repel.
These sensors can ultrasonically sense if a predator has entered your yard- these products have a variety of range and features, but this option from Broox on Amazon has a sensor, alarm, and LED flashing light that activates should a skunk enter its zone of detection.
These products are great because they don’t take up very much space, they are often solar-powered and waterproof, and they work without you having to do anything. Skunks won’t be a big fan of these repellers, especially if you have many set up throughout your yard!
Trying a combination of these repellers is a good idea: get some motion-activated lights, and sprinkle some red pepper throughout your yard. Some skunks are more easily spooked than others- you may have to try a few things before they leave your yard alone!
What About Mothballs? (Are They Dangerous?)
If you have heard about mothballs as a potential pest deterrent, it may be something for you to reconsider. Mothballs are indeed dangerous and can harm both your children and pets if inhaled or eaten. Why might this be?
Mothballs are designed to kill or prevent moths, usually in your closet. However, they are designed to release powerful and toxic pesticides into the air as they age- this scent may repel outdoor critters, but can be dangerous if they fall into the wrong hands (or under the wrong nose).
Given the many all-natural and safe options on this list other than mothballs, I highly recommend sticking to anything else. Mothballs might have worked back in the day, and they could still work now. However, there are safer and more humane options out there, especially if your family likes to enjoy your yard too!
Finding ways to get rid of skunks after they have already been in your yard isn’t the end of the world. There are many options for you to choose from, whether you are preparing to prevent skunks, or need to have a few skunks kicked out of your garden!
Have you used any particular skunk repellents in your yard? How have they proven effective? I hope these 7 best home remedies to keep skunks away will help you with your skunk problem!
Read our related posts on keeping animals out of your yard:
- 10 Easy Ways to Keep Rabbits Out of Your Yard
- 5 Easy Ways to Deter Hawks from Your Backyard Birds
- 10 Ways to Keep Squirrels Out of Fruit Trees
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.