Living in the mountains for the last seven years I have had my fair share of run-ins with the local wild life. Most of these have been thankfully pleasant. Unfortunately, my dogs have not had the same luck and the smell can knock you over.
Skunks are one of those animals that are good to have around but, people don’t really like having them around. Skunks little faces and chubby bodies are very cute. They have a knack for staying out of our way as long as we stay out of theirs. Most of the time we do not have to worry so much about what they are doing in our neighborhood, as we watch them waddle happily down the street.
So, what do you do when you find out a skunk is living in your neighborhood? They like to stay under houses where they feel safe and can huddle in a dark corner somewhere. What wild animal would like it? They get heat from our house and comfort being out of the weather. But, man the smell can turn most of us away from having them become a permanent resident.
Now, I have made a habit, living where I do, of keeping around a couple safe traps for situations like this. You can find them at hard ware stores near you. They are safe and humane traps which do not hurt the animal in any way just box them up.
If you do not have the desire to purchase one, you can call animal control and let them know that you need to use one of theirs. Animal control will typically give you ten days to use the trap if it is available at the time. If it is not available you will be put on a waiting list for use of one.
Look around your home or where you have seen the skunk traveling for their footprints. They usually aren’t hard to spot if there is somewhere they can leave a track. If you can find the opening to wherever they are living this can be more helpful then just their wandering routes because it is more reliable.
Don’t worry if you are doing this during the day the skunk is not going to run out and spray you, that is just not how they work. As long as you are not poking at them they are not going to ambush you. During the daylight hours they are really too busy sleeping to care.
All of these traps require bait to lure the skunk in. Best thing I have found to use is simply dry cat food. You can make a little pile on the trigger and around it inside the trap and then scatter a trail of the cat food coming from the trap. This way the skunk gets a taste of what they want and will be more likely to go into the trap.
Not all of these humane traps are spray proof. If you can find one, they are the best type to use for skunks of course. If you cannot there is a simple fix, don’t worry. Get yourself an old tarp that will cover the front of you completely and hold it up before the skunk sees you coming for them. Keep in mind to walk slowly towards the trap. Usually, if you do this correctly the skunk never gets scared at all. Once you have walked all the way up to the trap lay the tarp down on the trap, covering it completely.
Once you have the tarp laid down over the trap the skunk will remain calm. It is almost like an alligator, when you cover their eyes they become submissive. You can then pick up the trap and move it to where ever you want.
Keep in mind that in most states if you call out animal control to take the skunk off your hands, they euthanize them. I know it sounds horrible, and I do not agree with this procedure at all. I have spoken with animal control and they have stated this is due to rabies. Whatever they wanna call it, they kill the little guy.
In order to avoid this death sentence I have found places on my mountain where I can release the skunks. I make sure there is a year round stream so they have water and that there is plenty of room for them to roam. Skunks eat plants and meats alike so, I try to accommodate both of these needs.
When transporting the skunk if you do not have a truck you can put the trap in don’t worry. Since the skunk can’t see they stay submissive and can ride in the back of an SUV just as well as a truck. I wouldn’t advise throwing them in the trunk of your car though. The exhaust fumes could harm them. Skunks are kind of like babies most of the time. The car noise and vibration will actually put them to sleep.
Once you reach your destination all you have to do is lift up your tarp slowly and reach around it to open up the trap door. Most of the time the skunk will just leave once they notice the door is open. There is the occasion, however, where you will have to shake the trap a bit to get them out of it. Sometimes, it just takes time for them to loose their fear a little and get out.
I would advise resetting the trap even if you think there was only one. They do travel in groups if there is enough food and spring time is also baby time. There have been times I believed there was only one skunk around and caught four. If you can leave the trap set for two or three nights and catch nothing then you skunk free. If you do catch more than one and are releasing them yourself, please release them in the same spot so they can stay together.
I have been using this method for years. Once I found out that if I called animal control out to trap a wild animal it was just killed, I figured out another method on my own. I see no reason to euthanize all of these poor critters. Skunks may stink but they do deserve a happy little skunky life. After all, we moved into their neighborhood, they didn’t move into ours.