Skunks: Will They Eventually Leave On Their Own?


Adorable face of a wild black and white skunk.

Pests. We all have to deal with them, right? Some pests are harmless and others can create disturbances in our homes. What about certain pests, like skunks? If they enter our personal area, will they eventually find their way out and leave on their own?

In general, skunks will eventually leave on their own because they are rather timid and private animals. However, if a skunk has taken residence on your property and made a home, they’ll be less likely to leave on their own. It’s best to block areas where skunks may take shelter in the first place.

In this post, you will learn more than you would ever think you could know about skunks and their nature. So keep on reading and soak up some new knowledge! The next time you see any skunks slinking around your backyard, you will know exactly what to do.

Why Would a Skunk Come On to My Property?

Skunks are naturally harmless animals. They do not have the intention to hurt other animals or humans. They eat leaves, fruits, vegetables, and perhaps smaller insects. Skunks are not predators who are on the hunt for prey.

If you do see a skunk, just keep in mind that they are probably more scared of you than you are of them. 

Skunks are also nocturnal animals. They do their searching for food and moving around in the middle of the night. This may be when you happen to spot them too.

If you have a skunk problem and these pesky animals keep turning up each night, then there may be a few reasons why they have come to love your home.

In Search of Food

There could be a good chance that your garbage can has the yummiest, tastiest garbage in the entire neighborhood. Gross, right?

Well, for a skunk, that is not an unpleasant thought. Skunks are likely showing up on your property because they like to dig through your trash or they eat the fruits and vegetables you are harvesting in your backyard.

Whatever they may find in your yard, skunks may have found food they love. This is a major reason for them coming onto your property.

In Search of a Safe and Cozy Home

Did you hear something the other night under your porch or in the crawl space? You should take a closer look because you might just find a skunk family nestled up inside.

Skunks search for a burrow that they find safe and warm for their kin. Sometimes these places just so happen to be near the shrubbery in your yard, and yes, even in your sheds or underneath patios and decks.

If a skunk or multiple skunks have found themselves a wonderful nook in your personal area, then this is why they show up constantly. Rest assured that there are ways you can gently persuade them to leave. 

Keep reading to find out exactly how to do so!

Are Skunks Invasive and Harmful? 

If you have large predators lurking in your yard or near your home, then you might want to take caution. 

What if it is a skunk that is lurking around? Well, no need to get too worried because they are not harmful.

They can, however, be invasive. Chances are that you do not want skunks loitering around your personal property. And, of course, there is that one super infamous thing everyone knows about skunks. They smell bad!

Well, it is not exactly the skunk that smells horrible. It is the spray they emit from the glands near their bottoms that smell pungent and make you gag.

Skunks’ first instinct is not to spray their opponent. If they feel threatened or frightened, they will stamp their feet, hiss, and then eventually raise their tail. At this point, if the skunk turns around and their rear is facing you, then you need to scram!

If you’re interested in deterring skunks, you can learn about the most common scents that skunks hate here.

To avoid being sprayed by a skunk, do not disturb it or its kin. Rather than using scaring techniques, you can use common repellents to make sure it will leave and not return.

Using Scents to Deter Skunks and Get Them to Leave

There are homemade scents you can make that will coerce a skunk to leave or if you are short on time, you can purchase a ready-made scent that will do the job just as well.

A mother skunk carrying her kits

Ammonia on Rags

Ammonia has a very distinct, strong smell, right? Well, that strong smell irritates skunks’ noses and it deters them from coming any closer. 

To use ammonia effectively in getting the skunk to leave on its own, you can purchase some of Austin’s Clear Ammonia and soak the liquid in rags or on cotton balls. Spread these around your yard and watch as the skunk walks away in the opposite direction.

Citrus Peels

Citrus is usually a very pleasing and welcome scent. For skunks? Not so much. Lemons and oranges have an acidic smell that skunks are not very fond of.

To use the scent of citrus, all you have to do is take some lemon and orange peels and spread them around the areas where you see the skunks frequently. Just be mindful that you will need to replace the rinds as the natural smells eventually wear off.

Chili Powder

If you like spicy food and have spicy sauces in your kitchen pantry, then you are in luck. If you do not like spiciness, then no worries, you can get your hands on some McCormick Dark Chili Powder online.

Once you have some chili powder, pour some of it into an empty spray bottle, mix it with water, and then get to work spraying this mixture outside.

You will be surprised but skunks detest any scent that can be associated with chili because it is not kind to their nasal passages.

If you can use chili outside, then the skunks may just leave and decide not to come back.

Using Ready Made Sprays to Get Skunks to Leave

A product like the Bonide Repels-All Animal Repellent has also been found to be effective at repelling skunks. 

The product carries a scent that skunks do not like – including putrescent whole egg solids. Just grab some of the Bonide spray and use it liberally around your yard. Hopefully, this helps you out!

Skunk Repelling Granules

A well-known product is the Havahart Critter Ridder which contains five pounds of small granules. 

The Critter Ridder is made from a mix of black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin. When these ingredients are combined, it creates a spray that carries an unpleasant scent for skunks.

Predatory Urine

If one is confronted by a larger, more imposing figure, then naturally you would run away. The same goes for skunks and their predators: foxes, wolves, and other big animals.

A skunk will leave your property if they feel a predator is nearby. As you also do not want a dangerous animal anywhere near your house, what you can do is get a hold of some products like American Heritage’s Red Fox Urine.

Like the other products, if you spread some of this around outside, the skunks will definitely not return. One whiff of this scent and they will take their family and leave.

Very cute black and white skunks

Physical Deterrents to Repel Skunks

If you are still searching for other ways to ensure skunks will certainly vacate your premises, then you can look to resources that are easy to make or easy to obtain.

Bright Lights to Deter Skunks

Motion sensor lights, combined with other skunk repellents, can be a powerful deterrent against skunks. You can read more about using motion sensor lights to deter wildlife here.

A Strong Burst of Water

Something as simple as a gush of water will send small animals like skunks scurrying away. If you have a water hose, you can activate it so it turns on when a skunk is prowling around.

Better yet, you can look into a product like the Orbit Yard Enforcer Motion-Activated Sprinkler, which automatically sprays skunks with a blast of water when they cross the sprinkler… fancy!

Gently Change Their Homemade Burrow

If a skunk has decided to nest in, under, or near your house, then you may have to resort to changing its nest in gentle and subtle ways that encourage it to leave. 

You may find a skunk creating a home near some bushes or rocks and trees. You can move the rocks around or snip off pieces of the bushes. This will change the atmosphere of their home and they will willingly leave themselves.

Be sure to pick up any discarded fruits or vegetables from any type of crops you may have outside. Discarded foods will attract animals like skunks so keeping these things off the ground in the first place will prevent any unnecessary headaches.

Conclusion: Be Gone, Skunk!

Overall, yes, skunks can and will eventually leave on their own. However, they often need gentle prodding to find their exit.

It is important to remember that skunks are not naturally vindictive or dangerous animals. They do not seek to harm you or your family. However, they can cause damage to your yard or, sometimes, cause a stink, both literally and figuratively.

Just to recap, a skunk will find its way to your area because of two main reasons:

  • There is food it is seeking and your house and yard just so happen to have it. Find ways to eliminate any food waste that may attract the skunks.
  • Your home presents an opportunity to build a nice den for the skunk and its babies. Be cautious of any areas that could eventually become a potential home for these animals.

After trying the recommended methods and strategies, you are bound to have success and hopefully, your home and backyard will be skunk-free soon. Whether they leave on their own or due to your efforts, you will be glad to have your space back again.

Let us know which strategy worked best for you!

Thanks for reading and catch ya next time! Stay safe and take care!

References

Dustin, K., Messmer, T. A., Conover, M. R., & Dotson, L. D. (1997). Skunks.

Ramey, C. A., Mills, K. H., & Robin, M. (2007). Overview of the first use of GPS 1991/GIS 1992 during a Wyoming skunk rabies epizootic.

Blanton, J. D., Palmer, D., & Rupprecht, C. E. (2010). Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2009. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 237(6), 646-657.

Verts, B. J., & Storm, G. L. (1966). A local study of prevalence of rabies among foxes and striped skunks. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 419-421.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Learn About Skunks. https://www.mass.gov/service-details/learn-about-skunks

Recent Posts