That nasty smell in your yard can mean a lot of things:
- It can mean you have decaying materials in your yard.
- You forgot to take out the trash.
- It can even mean that those vegetables and plants in your backyard have thrown an open invitation to unwanted visitors that leave a ‘scent’ as a souvenir for their visit’.
Skunks are not so rare that it should surprise you to see or smell one in your yard.
They are nocturnal animals that are not aggressive nor that wild. They are omnivores meaning they feed on both plants and smaller animals like insects and rodents.
There are different species of these mammals, from the striped skunk to the eastern spotted ones, the western spotted species, the hooded skunk, and the American hog-nosed skunk. They all are found in many parts of the world.
What Attract Skunks to your Backyard
There are two main reasons why skunks will keep coming over and over to a place, and they are:
1. There is Access to Food in the Area
Skunks can feed on a wide range of things, both plants and animals, meaning that an array of things can attract them to a place. They feed on small animals like rodents and insects and feed on plants like berries and leaves.
Grubs and larvae of worms are a delicacy to them, so if your yard is infested with grubs, then you just sent out an invite to skunks to come and party.
Skunks are also scavengers that feed on dead animals and are also fond of garbage as a good place to forage. Skunks will also come for them if you have pets outside and you leave some of their food outside.
With this many things that skunks can feed on, it is little wonder that they are common in many places and parts of the world.
2. A Good Place to Shelter
Once skunks find a constant supply of food in an area, the next thing they do is try to make their den there. They can make your decks, sheds or even your patio their den, which will make a place to hide from a predator and even reproduce.
Because they are good at burrowing, they can make holes around to make their den. Clearing debris of plants especially leaves, trimming overgrown shrubs, removing woods and rocks that can house insects and grubs will be effective in ridding your yard of this menace.
Are Skunks Good to Have in Your Backyard
Even though skunks are some of the most misunderstood animals, there are because many people believe that they are aggressive and very wild, which is not true. They are feared because of the nasty smell of their spray, which can last for weeks.
But in the real sense of it, skunks are not as bad as people fear. If there is anything, they have a few good points to them that will benefit you and your yard, and they are:
- Skunks dig up and eat larvae of many insects that are harmful to your crops, like the Japanese worms, the hornworm, and the cutworms. These worms and their larvae can destroy your plants. By skunks feeding on them, they help your farm to blossom.
- In the process of burrowing, they make holes in your garden, thereby aerating your garden. Air is very important not just for your vegetables in the garden but also for the helpful microorganisms in the soil who convert organic matter into nutrients for your plants.
- They feed on the rodents in your backyard, thereby helping to reduce the population of rodents in your space.
- They also feed on other pests that could bother you and your plants, thus helping you rid of problems that would have given you lots of concerns. Do you know that skunks also kill and feed on poisonous snakes, which could be lethal if they bite people around?
So, skunks have a bad name because of the odor they can leave behind when they spray, but they are not altogether problematic.
What Do Skunks Hate the Most?
Because skunks gained notoriety from the scent left behind when they spray a place or someone, many people do not know that they hate the scent even though it comes from their own body (the same reason why we are disgusted by poop).
Skunks have a very strong sense of smell, so one of the things they hate the most is anything that gives off a strong smell, and that is why the major tactics to getting them out of your yard are to spray them with strongly scented materials.
Skunks, too, are prey to a lot of animals like the bear, coyotes, and the rests, but since you might not be able to scare them by these predators, then let’s stick to strong odor as the thing skunks detest the most.
How High Will Skunks Climb?
Skunks are not the best climbers that there are, but they can climb if they must. Most skunks may not want to climb a fence or wall as high as 18 inches because it is a tedious task.
This is not unconnected to the fact that they use their snout and claws to climb. Remember, skunks do not jump, and that is why climbing is a big problem for them.
CHECK OUT: Can Skunks Climb or Jump
The only species of skunks that are excellent climbers that can climb a wall as high as six feet are the spotted skunk, and thus is because they have padded feet that help them climb high walls.
Can Skunks Climb Over Walls?
Skunks can climb over walls or fences made of chain links, wood, and other wire-mesh kinds of fences, but they cannot climb walls with smooth surfaces like metal.
They, however, can climb a tree or object near your fence and from there get over your fence. They are also very good at burrowing, and so it is common to see skunks dig underground holes of a depth of about 2 feet and from there get through to the other side of a fence.
FIND OUT: Do Skunks Climb Trees or Fences?
How Do You Prevent Skunks from Gaining Access to Your Yard?
If you do not have skunks yet in your yard and you want to ensure they don’t gain access in, then you can follow the following preventive tactics:
- Seal with chicken mesh all the places in your backyard where skunks can enter to make dens. Since skunks can burrow, ensure that the wires are placed from the ground up, so they can’t find a means to burrow into your yard.
- Fence your garden patch if possible so that they can’t climb in.
- Keep your garden and backyard free of any food material or even pet food that will attract them to your yard.
- You can spray your space with beneficial nematodes as they repel skunks from a place. These nematodes can also help you to biologically take care of pests on your farm.
- You can install a motion-activated sprinkler that will spray these skunks anytime they come near your lawn.
How To Keep Skunk Out of Your Yard
Skunks are renowned for the nasty smell they spray when they mate, are injured or are frightened, and this smell can last long.
But these animals hate strong smells too, so if you want to rid your space of skunks humanely, you have to give them a taste of their own medicine.
Some tactics and tips are helpful in removing skunks from your yard or garden. The list is not exhaustive; feel free to add anyone that has ever worked for you.
- A mixture of dish soap and castor oil produce a smell that skunks find very offensive. Hence if you spray this mixture, they will run from your yard.
- There are other commercial sprays that repel skunks that you can buy. Alternatively, you can enlist the help of a professional to humanely take care of your skunk problems.
- You can chase skunks away from your backyard by using very bright light in your yard. Because they are nocturnal, they hate bright light when they forage, so you can fix floodlights in your yard to scare these creatures away.
- You can use the peels of citrus fruits like oranges, lemon, and lime to scare them off your yard because it is repulsive to them. The only snag is that you have to get a lot of these citrus peels, and they might look messy in your yard.
- Another way to rid your yard of skunks is using biological weapons. Dogs and coyotes are natural predators of skunks, and these skunks can smell from afar. So, you can buy dog and coyote urine at garden centers and spray them in your yard to keep these skunks from your space.
- People believe that if you place a rag soaked in Ammonia around your yard, the smell can drive skunks away from your yard. We think this too is worth trying.
- If your yard is small then, you can place a room deodorizer or even a strong-smelling soap around the yard, and its fragrance will push skunks out of your yard.
- Get chopped jalapeño, cayenne pepper and red onions and cook them with water for 15 minutes. The mixture you get can be sprayed around your yard, and it will cause skunks to run far from your backyard.
- You can put mothballs all around your yard as they are effective in repelling skunks.
- Many people also resort to traps to catch skunks, but whatever you do, make sure you don’t bring them to any harm.
Do Coffee Grounds Repel Skunks?
Of course, they do. If you have noticed, the most effective ways of repelling skunks are by putting a smell offensive to them, and they will scamper from your yard. Coffee grounds work too like that.
Coffee smell has come to be linked with man, so coffee grounds also send a message to skunks that there are humans or other predators around, so they move away from your yard for safety.
Will A Skunk Chase You?
Skunks are naturally docile and will not chase you ordinarily. But if it feels threatened by your presence or you show any sign of fear, it may attack, but this is quite rare.
There are few cases of skunk attack, and fortunately so because some of them are carriers of rabies: that deadly disease that if a skunk bites, you can get infected with.
The sign of rabies in man include fever, headaches, confusion, and later anxiety sets in, followed by hallucination, paralysis, extreme salivation and eventually death if nothing is done promptly.
Why Keep Skunks Away from My Yard
Even though we have said that skunks are docile and mild-mannered, we must state here that there are a few dangers of having them in your yard, and they are:
- The most obvious reason to rid your yard of skunks is that they can spray you or your pets with this disgusting spray that can remain on you for weeks if you do nothing about it.
- Some skunks carry the dreaded rabies disease, and the unfortunate thing is that there is no way of telling which skunk is a carrier or not.
- As they burrow into your lawns in search of worms and insects, they destroy your lawns.
- They are omnivores and so can feed on the crops in your garden like corn. They can even feed on your pet’s food if they get the chance.
- They can destabilize the foundation of your fences or walls around you and cause them to be weak when they burrow around your yard. This weak wall poses a serious safety concern for you and others.
Skunks are mostly feared because of their odorous potential and the fact that many believe they are aggressive, but by and large, they do not constitute a danger to a man or his environment.
But if, however, you hate seeing them around your space, then use some of the many easy tips and tactics and humanely removed them from your yard.
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Hope this article helped you learn How to Keep Skunk Out of Your Yard. You may also want to read our article about squirrels – Can You Eat Squirrel From Your Backyard.
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