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How To Trap a Skunk

Finding skunks in your yard can be a daunting and intimidating experience, especially for those who have never encountered them.

Whether you’re a homeowner, tenant, or someone who spends time outside in their yard, discovering these small mammals can be pretty frightening.

Skunks have a particularly pungent odor that they can spray as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. This smell is notorious and can linger in an area for days or weeks after an encounter.

They can also be persistent creatures who will not hesitate to return to your property if they find suitable food sources – such as pet food left outdoors or garbage cans that are not securely covered.

Plus, due to their nocturnal habits and burrowing tendencies, you may often find yourself unexpectedly face-to-face with a skunk when least expecting it.

This makes trapping skunks on your property seem all the more intimidating.

The best method for trapping a skunk is to use a live trap. However, it’s important to note that skunks must be handled and released humanely to be safely captured.

You will also need to take special precautions when trapping and handling skunks as they can carry rabies, making it necessary to wear protective clothing like gloves, long sleeves, and even face masks. 

If you are ready to start trapping skunks, let’s look at how to do it safely and effectively.

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Key Pest Points

• Trapping a skunk should be done with extreme caution, as skunks can carry rabies and become aggressive when cornered.

• Live traps are the best way to capture a skunk, but it’s important to use one that is large enough for the animal you plan on trapping.

Choose the Appropriate Skunk Trap

When selecting a skunk trap, choosing one that is big enough for the skunk you are targeting is essential. Generally, an average-sized skunk requires a medium to large (25 – 35 inch long) size trap to be safely caught.

Additionally, ensure that the trap has strong enough walls and wire mesh so the skunk cannot escape.

Unless you are a professional, it is best not to handle the skunk alone. So make sure to choose a skunk trapping mechanism with safety features that will keep you and the skunk safe while it is being transported.

There are two main types of skunk traps available: live and deadfall. Live traps are designed to catch the skunk without doing any harm, while deadfall traps are more likely to kill the animal on contact.

They are supposed to be used when the skunk has caused significant property damage or threatens human health. So it’s important to be sure you are using the correct type of trap for your current situation.

But if you are having a skunk problem and want to remove them safely, contacting a wildlife control expert or pest management professional is always recommended. This is especially true if you are concerned about rabies or other illnesses.

Determine the Trap Placement

Once you have chosen the correct type of trap, it’s time to decide where to place it. Skunks generally like to hide in dark, secluded areas such as underneath porches or decks, tree hallows, burrows, and brush piles, so these can be good spots to set your trap.

Additionally, you can increase your chances of catching a skunk by placing the traps near areas where you know they have been previously seen or known to frequent.

But make sure to set the trap 5-10 feet away from the entrance to prevent the skunk from being able to escape.

You will also want to ensure that the trap is set firmly in even level ground and placed in an area out of direct sunlight, as skunks tend to avoid bright light and will be more likely to enter a trap in a shaded area.

Baiting Your Skunk Trap

When it comes to bait, skunks are scavengers and will usually eat anything edible. But they are also one of nature’s best pest controllers since they love eating insects like grubs, beetles, mice, and rats.

When choosing the bait for your skunk trap, make sure to use something smelly and attractive, like bread coated with peanut butter, oily meats, honey, dry cat food, or fish eggs.

Once you’ve chosen your bait, place it in the center of the trap and slightly away from the walls to prevent the skunk from being able to grab it without entering.

As an additional precaution, you can add a layer of dirt or grass on top of your bait to blend in with its surroundings.

Then, wait for the skunk to enter, and be sure to check your trap often. Once you have caught the skunk, wear protective clothing and contact a wildlife control expert or pest management professional who will safely transport and release the animal.

Setting Your Trap at Night

Since skunks are nocturnal animals, they will be more active and likely to enter a trap at night. This is why it is best to set your trap in the evening when it’s dark outside and there is less human activity.

Remember to close the trap during the day, so other animals or children don’t accidentally get caught.

Also, wear protective clothing and stay as quiet and still as possible when setting your trap. You don’t want the skunk spooked by loud noises or sudden movements and run away.

Monitoring Your Skunk Trap

It’s important to monitor your skunk trap regularly, as you don’t want the animal to be stuck for too long.

Observe from a safe distance and contact a wildlife control expert or pest management professional immediately if the skunk is in distress or has been caught in the trap for more than 24 hours.

This will ensure the safe and humane removal of the skunk from your property. Additionally, check with local laws and regulations before setting a trap, as there may be restrictions for trapping certain animals.

What To Do After You Catch Your Skunk?

Once you’ve caught your skunk in the trap, it’s time to take action. You’ll need to:

1. Wear protective clothing covering your body and shoulders, such as long sleeves, heavy-duty gloves, and a face mask.

2. Slowly approach the skunk trap, making minimal and soft noises to avoid startling the animal.

3. Gently cover the trap with a blanket or towel since skunks do not typically spray when they can not see any potential predator.

4. Carefully carry the trap away from your property; if local laws allow, transport the skunk to an area at least 10 miles from your home. Ensure the skunk is not startled in the process, as it could become agitated and spray.

5. If you cannot transport the skunk away from your property, contact a wildlife control expert or pest management professional for assistance.

Check with local laws and regulations before setting a trap, as there may be restrictions for trapping certain animals.

You can successfully remove skunks from your property with minimal stress and hassle by following these steps.

What To Do If You Get Sprayed By a Skunk?

Although skunks will typically not spray unless they feel threatened, you may get sprayed by one if you accidentally surprise them.

If this happens, stay calm and remember that it’s not the end of the world.

The smell can be easily removed with an effective decontamination process. According to Poison Control, you can use the following steps to remove skunk spray from your body:

Mix 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap.

For the solution to be effective, it must be mixed immediately before use. Once the solution is ready, you can apply it to your skin and let it sit for around 5-10 minutes before rinsing off with warm water, and repeat if necessary.

It is important to note that you should never use this solution in your eyes, ears, or mouth and to keep it away from pets and children.

How To Prevent Skunks From Returning To Your Yard?

Once the skunks have been removed from your property, you’ll want to ensure they don’t come back. Here are some tips to consider:

1. Secure your garbage and compost bins: Ensure all trash is adequately secured in lidded containers and that your compost bin is not easily accessible.

2. Eliminate possible food sources: Skunks may enter your property if there are potential food sources like pet food, bird feeders, and fallen fruit from trees. Remove them to make the area less attractive for skunks.

3. Seal off possible entry points: Inspect your yard for any potential entry points and seal them off to prevent the skunks from getting in.

4. Make sure the area is well-lit: Skunks are nocturnal creatures, so keeping your property well-lit can make it less attractive to them.

If possible, install motion-activated lights that turn on when they sense movement.

5. Fill in abandoned burrows: If you notice any abandoned skunk burrows in your yard, fill them up with dirt to make them less attractive as a potential nesting area.

By following these steps, you can effectively prevent skunks from returning to your property and keep them away so you can enjoy your yard in peace.

FAQs About Skunks

Learning about skunks can help you better understand how to prevent them from invading your yard. Here are some common questions about skunks:

Are skunks dangerous?

No, skunks are not usually considered to be dangerous animals. However, they can spray a strong-smelling liquid if they feel threatened, which can be very unpleasant. So, it’s best to keep your distance and take precautions to avoid startling them.

How do I know if a skunk is living in my yard?

You may see signs of their presence, such as burrows, tracks, scat, or spraying. You may also hear them at night when they are active and looking for food. So if you notice any of these signs, it’s likely that a skunk has been around.

how to trap a skunk

What attracts skunks to your backyard?

Skunks are attracted to food sources like pet food, fallen fruit, garbage, and compost bins. They’re also attracted to dark, secluded areas where they can feel safe from predators.

Additionally, skunks may enter your property if there are potential nesting sites such as abandoned burrows or brush piles.

What time do skunks come out?

Skunks are nocturnal animals, so they come out at night when it’s dark and quiet. They’re most active between dusk and dawn but may also be seen during the day if they’re looking for food.

So, it’s crucial to be aware of their activity times and take necessary precautions.

What are the natural predators of skunks?

Skunks have a few natural predators, including coyotes, large owls, hawks, foxes, and bobcats.

So if you notice any of these animals in your yard, they may be trying to hunt the skunks. These predators may also indicate that you have a skunk problem on your property.

Skunks are fascinating animals but can be annoying if they invade your property.

By understanding their behavior and taking the necessary steps to prevent them from entering your yard, you can minimize the chance of dealing with skunks in the future.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that skunks are not dangerous animals and should be respected and left undisturbed. Proper precautions allow you to enjoy your yard without worrying about skunks.


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