Skunks are often attracted to residential areas by the availability of food, water and shelter. They can be encouraged to leave by reducing or eliminating these attractants. Skunks can and do eat anything – fruit, nuts, bird eggs, bugs, larvae, human wastes and garbage, small rodents, dog or cat food etc.
*Photo by Ken Orich*
Tips for keeping skunks off your property
- Remove unused pet food and water bowls at night. Store pet food in animal proof containers.
- Keep pet access doors locked.
- Keep tight fitting lids on garbage cans - never place unprotected garbage bags out in your yard or alley.
- Remove convenient denning locations in your yard such as wood and rock piles and elevated sheds.
- Gardens should be harvested frequently and windfall fruit picked up.
- If you have bushes or trees that bear fruit, you should periodically remove any that have fallen to the ground.
- Food should never be intentionally left out for wild animals or stray cats or dogs. You might end up attracting skunks instead!
- Seal up entry holes in and under buildings, decks and fences.
- Low backyard decks are extremely attractive shelters for skunks. Make sure that skunks or other animals are not inside before blocking any potential entrances. Skunks are nocturnal so you will likely see them out and about at night and in the early morning when they are scavenging for food.
- Skunks love grubs! Grubs are beetle larva that live underneath of your lawn. Skunks are known for digging small holes in people’s yards as they hunt for them.
- Usually skunks are not inclined to break through material such as 1/4 inch mesh if intact and in reasonably good condition. Entry is usually made through open, weak or loose places in fences or buildings.
- Skunks are excellent diggers and may try to gain entry by digging under fences if there is something in your yard that they want.
Other attractants include:
- Bird feeder spills or easily accessible water.
- Composter heaps that have eggs shells, fruit or bones.
The Lethbridge Animal Shelter is available to provide advice about your skunk problems, but due to limited resources, they must focus their efforts on dogs and cats. Unless there is a skunk that is problematic in an entire neighbourhood, they are not able to help with trapping skunks on private property.
Please call a private Lethbridge company to assist you with skunk traps or removing skunks from your property.