- Active all year but may be dormant during periods of extended cold.
- Attracted to spaces under porches, sheds, woodpiles, rocks or debris, garbage, pet food and open composts.
- Removing a skunk without repairing or attending to the attractants creates an opportunity for other skunks to move in.
How to Protect Your Lawn and Garden
- Skunks are attracted to lawns and gardens, especially after a rainfall when grubs and larvae are near the surface.
- They dig small round holes and roll up large chunks of sod to eat the grubs.
- Use natural lawn and garden care methods to kill the grubs.
- Sprinkle pure soap flakes on the lawn and water thoroughly.
- Mix bone meal in garden soil.
- Sprinkle diluted tabasco sauce over fruits and vegetables.
- Light up the area where skunks are a problem. Use one 100 watt bulb for every 15 square metres of garden (50 ft. by 50 ft.).
Evicting Skunks from Homes, Sheds, Porches
- Skunks are burrowing animals, so spaces under porches, sheds, woodpiles, rocks or debris are an open invitation.
- Eviction should only be done when babies can move on their own.
Step 1: If you think you know where the entrance to the den is, check to see if it is in use. Cover the hole with dirt or balled up newspaper. If the hole is in use, the skunk will burrow through the dirt or paper. If the dirt or paper is undisturbed for three to five days, the hole can be closed permanently.
Step 2: Encourage skunks to leave on their own by making the home uninhabitable:
- Distribute urine-soaked kitty litter in and around the den.
- Keep the area brightly lit.
- Play a radio at the entrance using an all-talk radio station.
- Block the entrance with dirt or newspaper to create an obstacle to entry.
Install a one-way door, allowing the skunk to leave, but not re-enter. This method should not be used between April and September when skunks are rearing their young, unless the babies are mobile.
Step 3: Before permanently blocking any entrance:
- Check to see if skunks have moved out, especially between April and September when babies may be present (see Step 1).
- Be sure that no animal is trapped inside the den. The animal will die and decompose.
Step 4: When you are sure that all skunks have left:
- Secure the hole to prevent re-entry.
- Make sure all boards or galvanized heavy wire screening is extended at least 20 to 30 cm straight down and 20 to 30 cm angled 90 degrees outwards underground. Skunks are excellent diggers and continuing the barrier at a 90 degree angle makes it more difficult to dig under.
- Backfill the area with dirt.
- Repair siding and holes in buildings.
- Place wood or wire screening around base of porches and buildings as a prevention skirt.
- Make sure you cover these areas to at least 20 to 30 cm straight down and 20 to 30 cm angled 90 degrees outwards.
- Eliminate piles of rocks or debris and stack woodpiles neatly to eliminate holes.
Window Wells/Tree Wells
- Skunks can become trapped in window wells.
- Since they are poor climbers, you can help them out by placing a rough board or board with cleats in the well.
- Try to keep the angle at less than 45 degrees so that it is not too steep.
- To put the board in the well, approach slowly and keep low and out of sight.
- Retreat if the skunk stamps its front feet or raises its tail and approach again later.
- Keep all pets and people away and the skunk will leave on its own, usually after dark.
- Either leave the ramp in place permanently or place a tight cover over the wells.
After they Spray
- A skunk can spray up to 10 feet with great accuracy from the two ducts located under its tail.
- Skunks will only spray when they feel threatened.
- It provides advance warning by stamping its front feet, raising its tail and turning its rear end toward the threat.
To remove skunk spray from:
- Flush with large quantities of clean water. The painful irritation that occurs when the spray gets into the eyes will soon pass. Consult your doctor as soon as possible.
- Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Non-living objects
- Use dilute chlorine bleach, ammonia or vinegar. Do a test spot to make sure these do not damage the material.
- Wash with carbolic soap.
Although all warm-blooded mammals can carry the rabies virus, skunks are a major carrier of the virus. To avoid human exposure to rabies:
- All dogs and cats in Toronto are required to have a rabies vaccine. Consult your veterinarian for more information. Stay away from all wild animals especially if they appear tame, injured or sick.
- Skunks exhibiting abnormal behaviour should be reported to 311.
- If bitten by any animal, wash the wound with soap and water, contact a doctor, and report the bite to Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600. If possible, have someone keep the animal in sight so that it can be captured or confined.
For further information about rabies, visit the Ministry of Natural Resources.