Hey—What’s the smell? If girlfriend think you’ve got a skunk hanging roughly your yard, it’s time come act! Here’s how to identify and deter skunks from your yard and garden.

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What Are Skunks?

Skunks space nocturnal animals that are naturally mild-mannered and non-aggressive; lock prefer small animals and also insects because that dinner rather of your garden. They periodically visit gardens and if lock do, it may be due to the fact that corn or various other plants room close come the ground.

The skunk cases homesteading legal rights from coastline to coast. Distributed across the nation are 4 varieties of skunks, including the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) and also the spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius). The common striped skunk lives largely in sparse forests and fields.

Skunks have the right to be really nice to have roughly because they destruction up and feed ~ above the larvae of cutworms, Japanese beetles, hornworms, and other crop-destroying insect life. However, skunks are not only partial come insects; they will eat leaves, buds, grasses, grains, garbage, any fruit or berries within reach, and even tiny game. They likewise may disturb your plants if digging for these grubs. This is what have the right to make castle a little bit of a nuisance to gardeners.

Although your nocturnal wanderings about our fields and also gardens, lawns, and flower beds cause us occasional inconvenience and also uneasiness, these space minor faults which deserve to be easily overlooked by the time the Harvest Moon begins to shine. The is then that the skunk’s appetite for the pests that afflict our gardens helps do it feasible for that Moon come glow end a cornucopia brimming with plenty.


Why and also How do Skunks Spray?

Skunks are famed for your skunk spray—you have the right to smell an upset skunk from end a mile away. Furthermore, a skunk deserve to “shoot” you from 10 come 12 feet, sideways, up, or down, with small apparent effort. Most gardeners worry more about a skunk spraying in the garden, on the gardener, or on a pet than about a skunk chewing up some veggies.

Under a skunk’s tail space two pouches equipped through a pair of ducts which, in peacetime, continue to be hidden, but which conveniently expose themselves once danger threatens. Their foul ammunition is a golden-yellow fluid whose energetic ingredient is the sulfide mercaptan. Each of the 2 pouches contains enough ammunition for 6 rounds. After the supply is exhausted, a week’s time is required to replenish it. This spray has actually made skunks creatures feared by practically all animals, consisting of most of mankind.

A skunk’s warfare is purely defensive. When confronted by a menacing male or clamorous dog, skunks will try to sidestep through ambling off. This method that if you uncover a skunk, simply turn ago and you have to be fine. If pursued, skunks will turn, face their aggressor, and also stamp your forefeet. This is their an initial warning. In ~ this point, you have to really be running!

The 2nd warning comes once their tails, all but the tips, room hoisted. Then, this ultimatum failing to develop peace, the white reminder rises, and spreads out, and also the skunk, snapping right into a U-position v snout and also rear toward the target, delivers a fee of spray. At this point, that is just too late, and your dog probably smells foul.

People usually get sprayed once they space walking v their yards in the dark (if girlfriend can’t view a skunk, friend can’t run away), or if castle disturb a skunk when eating. Those are an excellent reasons to save skunks the end of her yard in the very first place—and to always lug a flashlight!

How to recognize Skunks in Your Garden

Often, the best method to identify skunks is—unfortunately—by your odor. Hopefully you don’t have actually to address the skunk spray in her garden, however you’ll understand for certain that you have actually a skunk as shortly as they decide to spray.

The typical striped skunk has prominent white stripes running down its earlier and black hair on the rest of that is body. The is the dimension of a home cat and also is the most abundant species of skunk in the unified States. Spotted skunks room smaller and also have white spots and also broken white strikes between their black color fur. Skunks have brief legs and proportionately big feet with well-developed claws that space perfect for digging.

Tracks deserve to be advantageous in identify skunks. Skunks are regularly mistaken for raccoons because lock both have 5 toes. Sometimes, the 5th toe is difficult to watch in skunk tracks. Your heels usually space not component of the tracks, and also their claw marks are usually somewhat visible. Skunk droppings additionally often save on computer undigested insect parts.

These monitor from a striped skunk could assist you identify the skunk in your garden. Photo Credit: Ohio room of Natural Resources. 

Signs that Skunk Damage

If your lawn or flower bed has lots of holes in it, friend may have actually a skunk problem. Skunks dig up the turf in search of grubs. Lock move approximately at night and also dig in grassy areas, making distinct 3- to 4-inch deep holes. Skunk activity increases in the spring and also then lessens naturally, so any problems might stop every on their own. 

Skunks periodically feed ~ above corn, yet they have tendency to just eat the lower ears that they deserve to reach. If a corn stalk has been toppled over, the culprit is an ext likely a raccoon. Planting taller varieties of corn have the right to minimize this damage.

Of course, skunk spray is a usual sign that damage. If your dog smells foul, you probably have a skunk!

How to Keep Skunks Away

Spray a mixture of castor oil and also dish-washing detergent diluted in water. Skunks discover the smell offensive. Spray the area in ~ night as soon as the skunk is away foraging. Probably the best skunk repellent is a light. Skunks are nocturnal and their eyes are an extremely light sensitive. A bright irradiate or a motion sensor flood light will certainly scare skunks away.Most animals, consisting of skunks, dislike the smell of citrus fruits. Ar orange or lemon peels approximately the yard together a organic skunk repellent.Predator to pee (dogs, coyotes) can be supplied to defeat a skunk. These are commercially marketed in garden centers. (Note: usage a responsible source for predator urine to make sure that the pets are cure humanely and also the brand follows state and federal regulations.) Many readers have found success place ammonia-soaked rags around the yard, however, these must be replaced often.If the skunks are in a smaller garden patch, put bars of strong–smelling soap or a room deodorizer near your garden. Ironically, skunks hate strong scents.If nothing works, there are humane ways for experts to trap raccoons and skunks and transport castle elsewhere. Often, skunk removal by trapping is the only answer, and there just isn’t a lot you can do if it is a skunk. However, be mindful that many varieties of wildlife carry out not endure when placed in a brand-new territory, and it may not even be legal come trap and also relocate wild animals in your area.

Striped skunks. Photograph credit: Tom Friedel, BirdPhotos.com

How come Prevent Skunks 

Fencing may additionally be a an excellent idea for little areas, such as a garden patch.If girlfriend don’t desire skunks living under her deck or shed, seal these locations with chicken wire. Leaving at least one foot of added wire top top the ground extending from the structure to prevent skunks native digging under to enter.

What to do If You obtain Sprayed through a Skunk

Oh no! We deserve to all odor a skunk from mile away, however it’s truly awful to have that odor on you. Clothes can it is in washed, however the smell might linger on skin and also fur. If friend or your pet gets sprayed through a skunk, try the following:

Make a mixture that 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide (fresher is better), ¼ cup of baking soda, and also 1 come 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap. Using the solution, shampoo only the area injected by the skunk. Wet the area and work the solution into the skin or hair with your hands (avoid the eyes). Leave it for about 5 minutes or till the fizzing stops.Rinse extensively with water.If the smell is still present, repeat the process. Air dried or towel dry; do not usage a hair dryer, together heat deserve to cause any remaining skunk odor to collection into the hair or skin.

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This remedy may dry the end the skin, so usage a good-quality crème rinse come replenish moisture once the skunk smell is gone.

Do you have any type of special remedies that you usage for skunk spray? Let us know below!