skunk problem

it would appear that a skunk has moved in under our deck and the wife is freaked out about it. we see him or her at night and and i'm thinking of shooting it but my neighbor says that if i shoot it dead the skunk will still spray due to a natural reflex...is this true? another neighbor suggested i get a live trap that is not tall enough so that if a skunk gets trapped it will not be able to lift its tail to spray. finally, if the skunk does spray is there a good way to minimize the stench? (tomato juice) thanks, cj
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/skunk-problem-602019-.htm Bultaco wrote:
cj wrote:

Here are some thoughts for you:
1. Spread a handful of mothballs around the base of your deck. Apparently skunks hate them....and will leave.
2. The humane/live trap works (I've used mine on skunks several times) but requires a spare shower curtain as a protective screen while transporting the skunk to the countryside.....AND a certain level of dexterity (and nerve!) to get the trap door open to release the animal.
3. Unless the skunk is routing in your lawn for grubs (and ruining it), just let it be. They're generally harmless.....but CAN do some damage to lawns. Mind you, they don't have to be living under YOUR deck to come and ruin YOUR lawn; the neighbour's deck or nearby woods is just as good a home base!
4. We had a female who actually raised three babies under our deck this spring. Our curious male cat got sprayed once (but lost his curiosity after that) and the "new, improved" remedy is not tomato juice......but, Coke or Pepsi and baking powder, believe it or not. It DID work....but, marginally, like ALL skunk spray remedies.
My recommendation: sit back and enjoy nature. They're delightful to watch. ------------------------------------- Mike
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Bultaco wrote:

my lawn is being dug up, wasn't sure if it was a skunk or what. think i'll try the mothball method(do they work on groundhogs as well?)i also have a male cat that would lose his mind if he weren't let out for the night and he being as curious as the rest i often worry about him gettin to close to the skunk
do mothballs lose their potency? thanks for the advice
cj
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Not mentioned yet, is the possibility of the skunk having rabies. Just sayin'.
Billy the Exterminator on A&E uses a live trap method with a can of cat food. Even in traps they spray him. He states that a rabid skink is more likely to spray.
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That info ought to be out there some where. Try a web search.
The recent wisdom is that tomato juice is old technology. Now, we use baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Mixed at the moment of use, the mixture releases oxygen. Which helps break down the skunk spray.
--
Christopher A. Young
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On Wed, 3 Nov 2010 10:01:19 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

OxyClean preparations do the same job- with no mixing required.
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I would certainly try throwing a bunch of moth balls under the deck first. I think Bultaco is right about that.
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Just saw an episode of "Dirty Jobs" about skunk trapping. Don't count on any trap big enough to catch a skunk being small enough to restrict its motions enough to keep from spraying. They used fairly conventional sized traps and the skunks were easily able to spray through it. You'll need something like an old towel you can throw away to cover the trap after they are caught.
You'll need to screen out the area they are using as a den to prevent their re-entry unless you relocate them far enough away to prevent their return. If you do relocate them, place the trap into TWO large plastic garbage bags to protect your car or transport vehicle.
There's a product called "skunk off" that they used on the show, but home made remedies like baking soda (to neutralize the sulfuric acid carrier of the spray) and a newly opened bottle of hydrogen peroxide (it goes bad and loses its oxygenating properties soon after opening) have replaced tomato juice as the neutralizer of choice. I'd wear either a Tyvek disposable jump suit or old, disposable clothing that fully covers your arms and legs when attempting to move the trap or even when approaching it. Skunks can spray repeatedly when agitated.
The trappers in California simply released the skunk on the same property after repairs were made to damaged crawl space screens (where the skunk headed straight for upon release). It must have happened often at that particular house because the skunks stayed patiently in their traps, awaiting release and not spraying once. They seemed quite used to the procedure.
Not being a Californian, I wouldn't even think of releasing the critter back in my yard again. Even though they are quite beneficial creatures, one encounter with a neighborhood dog or cat can stink up your house but good, and for a long time. When we lived in Rhode Island, every rainy or humid day would reactivate the stink of the dozens of spray stains that came from various skunk and dog encounters. If the spray gets into porous wood, it stays and stays.
-- Bobby G.
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-snip-

I've trapped critters off and on for 50+ years. Until last summer I counted myself fortunate because I'd never caught a skunk.
I caught 2 in 2 nights in a big roomy box trap that I'd set for a woodchuck. I wasn't all that eager to put theory into practice- but grabbed a blanket from the garage and approached the trap with great caution. I've never seen an animal so nonchalant about being trapped. Both of them seemed content to reach outside the trap & pull clumps of sod into the trap to make a 'nest'.
I propped the door open and I had my camera ready to 'capture' the hasty escape. Glad I had the camera on a tripod with the motion detection set. Neither exited the trap for several hours after I'd gone inside the house. And neither made a hasty retreat.
-snip-

Seems to be the nature of the beast. I doubt these boys had been trapped before-- my neighbor prefers conibears.

I didn't think there were any skunks around until my neighbor got one I the conibear- then I trapped these 2. [Different colorations so I know it wasn't the same guy twice.]
I prefer them to squirrels.
Jim
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wrote:

sized
they
Ol' Trapper Jim! I'll bet that you've picked up plenty of tricks going at it for so long. I know that I've gone from maybe getting 1 in 4 actual trappings, I get them first time, every time. Peanut butter wired to a pudding cup just beyond the treadle (I use a two door unit with only one door set) and a free sample in a similar pudding cup just outside the trap. Once they've had a taste and know the cup inside the trap has the same tasty treat, in they go. The wary ones will do quite a dance around the trap before going in but they rarely run off after eating the bait outside the trap. I've got a CCTV cam on the porch and a motion detector aimed at the trap to monitor the trap so they don't stay in it too long. We have a problem because three neighbors have bird feeders that also support a large squirrel population.

I've apparently got a very smart woodchuck. I see him near the backyard shed, but never in the trap. I doubt he actually ever comes up on the porch, though.

Well, season 6 of Dirty Jobs has a skunk who just wouldn't QUIT spraying. I'll bet it's like dogs - the breeding males are the most aggressive of the lot. I'll have to check because I recall the trapper saying that raccoons are carriers of human tuberculosis (as they were removing the jellied remains of a dead one from a crawl space).

Which reminds me that the trapper said (and I know from bad experience) that with some critters, especially raccoons and squirrels, putting your fingers or any part of yourself near the cage can be risky as there are many that reach through the rather large cage holes in order to snare something to bite. Squirrels have long, curved incissors that can deliver an incredibly deep bite. Some just sit in the trap, some rocket back and forth trying to get out by acheiving "lasing" it seems. The agitated ones can rock a trap clear off the porch.

I have to push possums out of traps built for smaller squirrels. They sit in them for hours, with their raggedy fur forced out of all the holes because they've squeezed themselves in so tight, and hang on even with the trap upside down. I have to open the other end and poke them out with a broom. Possums emit a greenish goo when you poke them that while nowhere near as bad as skunks, has some considerable staying power.

WTF is a conibear? I googled it but I am not sure whether it's a trap or an animal! Looks like what the oldtimers call a "coon cuff."
I've trapped a lot of squirrels. They have quite a range of personalities. Some are incredibly vocal, some don't make a sound. I also learned that it's probably best to let them out of the trap using a piece of twine to pull it open from a distance. One squirrel, instead of making for the obvious open field, turned right around, ran up my pants leg, by back and jumped off my head. All so fast I didn't even realize it had happened until it was over. Gotta respect their acrobatic ability. It's very impressive. And a little creepy.

back
A long while back, I was on my way to Monterey, CA on a business trip. I had the front door and screen door propped open because I was loading up the car with luggage. During those brief moments, a squirrel got into the house and spent over a week locked up in it. The cleanup (still ongoing) cost several thousand dollars. I wouldn't have believed anyone if they told me how destructive one trapped 10 pound squirrel could be until I saw it. Wood around every window thoroughly chewed. Poop pellets and whiz everywhere. Everything on the top shelves was thrown to the ground. Food pantry obliterated. Some people think squirrels are cute and cuddly. I know better. They are rats with a tail and an agenda.
-- Bobby G.
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-snip-

Never heard of 'coon cuff' - but googled it- interesting idea. looks like it keeps coons from chewing their leg off.
Conibears are square 'killing' traps. Good pictures and how to get a critter out of one are on this page. If you have dogs that go in the woods it could save your dog's life to know how to open one. http://www.terrierman.com/traprelease.htm
Jim
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cj wrote:

...
No, if you can shoot straight...however, it's probably not feasible in a neighborhood to bring out the ammo...
On the farm remote from neighbors (and careful regarding where cattle are, etc.) I plunk 'em when they're too close to the house or getting into barn, etc.,(+) regularly. As long as get clean kill I've never had one release.
Cousin took the 12-ga to one once't upon a time however, at too close a range and created havoc...Dad was _NOT_ pleased. :)
(+) They're nocturnal as noted elsewhere and about as destructive of feed or grain sacks, etc., as raccoons--if get started they'll never let anything alone.
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On 11/3/2010 9:03 AM, cj wrote:

Skunks won't spray if confined in live trap. I've caught a couple trying to get groundhogs and let them go without incident. If you transport to remote spot to release, I would only trust the open back of a pickup with trap covered.
Repelling from nesting under your deck is best start as skunks are not that pesky.
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cj wrote:

I shot three of them last year with a 22. They do not spray all over the place. They just thrash around a little and die by morning. Hardly no smell at all. I hang them in a tree to scare away others. I have not had any at all this year. Good sign. Just don't shoot them in the stink sack.
--
LSMFT

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Sounds like a scene from Spartacus! From what I saw (skunks nesting in a crawl spaces near another dead and rotting skunk) they may not be easily convinced to stay away by seeing other dead skunks. Hell, they might even *like* the stink.
-- Bobby G.
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Never here (3 or 4 times 1980-2000) using a .22 rifle (head shot.)
--
Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
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