Skunks are beneficial, omnivorous creatures with a unique system of self-defense. They eat mostly insects, but they will also eat eggs, mice and other small animals, and fruits. They are primarily nocturnal animals.
Skunks have adapted well to humane environments and live happily under porches, patios, stoops, sheds, and decks, as well as in hollow logs, abandoned burrows, and wood or rock piles. There will be no doubt in your mind if a skunk is living near your house! To discourage a skunk from moving in with you:
- Block or screen entry points to the spaces under your home and other buildings. Be sure the boards or screening extend 8-10" underground, as skunks are good burrowers. Fill openings under concrete structures with dirt, and remove all brush piles from your property.
- Secure chicken houses to prevent skunks and foxes from raiding the eggs and young chicks.
- If a skunk has already taken up residence in or near your home, cover the entrance to its home with a one way door. This can be made by securing a double layer of hardware cloth to a hinge on the top of a wood frame large enough to accommodate the skunk. In April, May, or June, when there may be babies in the den, a better approach is to simply make it inconvenient for the female to stay by covering her entrance hole repeatedly with loose piles of dirt. She will still be able to dig through to enter and exit the den, but the harassment should convince her to move her young elsewhere. Do not seal the opening until the dirt remains undisturbed for several nights.
- If a skunk is caught in a window well, carefully and quietly place a rough board in the well so the animal can crawl out. Avoid frightening the skunk, or you will regret the consequences.