Skunk Repellent: When do I need it?
Occasionally spotting a skunk or two in your neighborhood is not always cause for concern or skunk repellent. Skunks are typically mild animals that cause damage to your lawn and gardens while searching for food. The most obvious sign of a skunk is its smell, entirely unmistakable. The more intense the smell, the closer the skunk is. Another identifiable factor is a skunk’s droppings, being 2-4 inches long and about 1/2 inch round and will contain a variety of material inside such as fruit seeds or animal hair.
Skunks can create widespread damage to your lawn and gardens by digging into the ground in search of insect larvae. Look for tracks, as a skunks front paws have 5 toes with a nail coming off each one, about an inch long and an inch wide. If you notice tracks on a regular basis, you probably need to use a skunk repellent.
If you are routinely plagued by a skunk’s offensive odor, find holes in your yard, or know you have a skunk den on your property, there are a variety of ways to not only get rid of skunks, but to deter them from nesting in your yard. This two minute video, by California Pest Management, describes how to discourage a skunk from your lawn and gardens.
Know the Facts before using Skunk Repellent
There are four different kinds of skunks found across the United States, including the most common, black and white spotted and striped skunks. Skunks are nomadic animals that move from den to den overtime, and typically remain in those dens throughout the coldest part of the winter months.
When a skunk feels cornered or scared, its’ main defense is the oily, foul smelling substance that is sprayed from one of two anal glands under the tail. The active ingredient that causes the horrible odor is sulfuric acid. It can be sprayed over 15 feet, and is very difficult to remove from animal fur. The scent can be so bad it can wake you from a sound sleep and their habit of digging can ruin a planted garden or lawn.
Using a natural skunk repellent like flooding your backyard with light at night will deter skunks because they are nocturnal animals. Skunks prefer the dark, so by startling them with light, they will relocate and you will be able to safely allow your pets to venture outside.
To help prevent skunks from creating a home on your property, try these homemade skunk repellents and take these actions:
- Cover Garbage Cans
- Do not leave pet food outside, especially overnight
- Seal any openings under patios, porches, crawl spaces, and sheds
- Periodically remove from your yard any fruits, nuts, or berries that have fallen from trees or bushes
- Remove any easily accessible water sources
- Remove any bird seed that has been spilled over onto the ground
Still unsure if you have a skunk? Loosely fill any suspicious hole (or holes) with dirt, leaves, shredded newspaper, or straw. If the hole is reopened within 24 hours, most likely a skunk has made a den and you will need to use some type of skunk repellent.