There is nothing more shocking than strolling through your backyard only to stop dead in your tracks after spotting a striped skunk. These furry critters are deceivingly cute, but startling them is not a good idea. Learn the habits of these animals and how to trap a skunk to move them safely to a new home.
Pest control is a chore homeowners often contend with, and this comes in many forms, from keeping an opossum or raccoon out of your garbage to deterring skunks from your yard.
We all share the same space, whether we moved into their territory or they moved into ours. While some wildlife is tolerable, skunks are a whole other story.
These animals have a habit of releasing a pungent aroma when frightened, and the smell lingers in the air for miles. Not only that, but they have an appetite for grubs and larvae and ruin lawns in search of their next meal.
- Keeping Skunks out of Your Yard by Trapping
Keeping Skunks out of Your Yard by Trapping
While trapping a live animal is not the easiest task, it is a necessary form of wildlife control to prevent accidental encounters with a skunk. Learn the skunks’ habits to understand them better and set animal traps to capture them safely.
If you are not comfortable using a trap or it does not give you the success you want, you can try a homemade skunk repellent made from ingredients you already have at home.
You may find that your skunk repellent also serves as a natural deterrent for raccoons and other small pesky animals.
Understanding Skunks before Trapping
Before using a DIY skunk trap to keep skunks out of your backyard, it’s a good idea to understand these animals’ habits and why they decided to start hanging out in your yard. Understanding skunks, what they eat, and where they sleep makes trapping them easier.
Skunks are generally nocturnal creatures that shelter in burrows during the day. They are black with white stripes and have powerful front feet for digging in the ground. These omnivores eat everything from grasshoppers and grubs to berries and grass.
They are opportunistic and often go through garbage left behind by people. When not mating, skunks prefer solitude, so it’s not common to come across more than one at a time.
These animals often warn a predator before spraying since their glands only hold enough for six sprays, and it takes days to replenish.
They do this by hissing, stomping their feet, and using threat postures. This is an indication they are about to spray, which reaches up to ten feet.
Why Use Homemade Skunk Traps and Live Traps?
Trapping is a good form of skunk control, whether you use commercial traps or homemade skunk traps. It’s also a great way to get rid of chipmunks naturally. But, why are live cage traps more beneficial than using lethal traps or repellents?
Skunks are not harmful to humans and a natural part of the ecosystem. They feed on a variety of rodents and insects and are useful for keeping these pests under control. While they have a foul spray as a means of personal protection, skunks prefer to be left alone.
Some traps, such as a spring trap or snare, are lethal and kill skunks after taking the bait. Others, such as a live trap, merely capture the animal in a cage with a trap door and hold it in place for safe removal.
These types are humane, and trapping them in this manner enables you to transport them to another location away from your home.
How to Make a DIY Skunk Trap
If you’re handy around the home and prefer to make your own trap rather than purchase a commercial one, consider using a form tube. This DIY skunk trap requires a bit of time to construct, but it’s highly effective at trapping skunks.
Start by making a square frame. Cut a 2×4 into two pieces that are 12 inches in length and two pieces that are 15 inches, and attach them with screws to form a backside frame.
Cut another 2×4 into two 12-inch sections, two 24-inch sections, and one 15-inch section. Screw a 12-inch piece into the inside bottom of the first 12-inch pieces, attach the other piece halfway up and slightly back from the front, and screw the 15-inch piece over the top section.
Slide the tube into the back frame and tighten it in place with pocket hole screws. Repeat the process with the front frame by sliding the tube into the lower section, and then insert a screw eye into the top.
Cut the quarter-inch plywood into two 2×24 inch sizes and attach them to the front frame’s right and left sides. Make the final section by cutting the last piece of plywood into 11 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches for the front door.
Attach a screw eye to the top center of the door, drill a hole a half-inch from the bottom, and insert the pin. Slide the door through the front frame plywood and tie a string to the screw eye.
Run the string through the second upper screw eye so that you are standing at a distance when you release the frightened skunk. Finally, screw the mesh onto the back of the frame.
To make the raised floor for the trap bait, cut the quarter-inch plywood into a 5 x 24-inch section, drill a hole through one end, insert the string through the hole, and tie it. Place the board inside the tube, with the string towards the back.
Drill another hole five inches through the top of the tube, about five inches from the back. Feed the string through the top hole, open the door, and tie the string end to the pin.
How to Live Trap Skunks with Bait
There are various skunk traps on the market, and all of them are relatively effective as long as you use the right skunk trap bait. We’ll show you how to set up a live trap using a variety of baits.
There are different skunk trap or cage trap models, so read the instructions for your particular type. The key to using these traps is to choose the best bait.
Baiting skunks into the trap only works if you use foods they crave, such as peanut butter, marshmallows, cat food, sardines, or crispy bacon.
Set the trap in a location where you notice skunk activity and place the bait in the appropriate section of the cage. Set the trap according to the directions and let it sit overnight. Check it each morning and repeat the steps until you catch the skunk.
How to Trap a Skunk and Avoid Being Sprayed
Now that you have a skunk trapped in a homemade or commercial trap, you’re probably wondering how to get them out of your yard without getting sprayed. Here are a few helpful tips for trapping a skunk without getting stinky.
Skunk Spray Prevention
The first thing to do before trapping a skunk is to practice opening and closing the door. Familiarizing yourself with the trap makes the act of setting the skunk free a smooth transition without fear of startling the trapped animal.
After you spot the skunk in the cage, hold an old blanket or sheet out in front of you as you approach the trapped skunk.
Walk towards it calmly and casually to keep the animal at ease and then lay the fabric over the top of the trap. Skunks don’t spray at targets they cannot see.
Steps to Take after Trapping a Skunk
Skunk removal is necessary to keep your yard safe from unwanted guests and prevent skunk odor from accidental encounters. But, what do you do with the captured animal after using homemade skunk traps?
Laws differ from location to location, so you must call animal control ahead of time to determine if and where to release your trapped skunk. After discovering this, carefully and slowly pick up the covered trap and transport it to the proper location.
Set it down with the door facing away from you and pull back the blanket just enough to give yourself access to the door. Prop open the door and back slowly away while keeping yourself out of sight and far away from potential skunk spray.
Ways to Prevent Skunks Around Your Home
Trapping and catching skunks is not a pleasant task for you nor the skunk. Therefore, the best way to avoid this situation is to prevent them from entering your yard in the first place.
The best way to prevent skunks or make a chipmunk proof garden is to make your yard unwelcoming to them. Clean up brush piles around your home, keep garbage cans secured with lids, feed your pets indoors, spray a skunk repellent around the yard, get rid of rodents and insects, and install a motion light outside your home.
A motion-activated sprinkler is also one of the most effective and natural ways to repel skunks and a variety of other critters.
Discovering that you have a new pest hanging out around your yard is disconcerting, especially since skunk odor is a problem for both you and your pets.
While trapping skunks is not the easiest task to do, it is the best way to keep a stinky critter out of your yard by moving it to a more suitable location.
Now that you know how to trap a skunk humanely to keep your outdoor space skunk-free, why not share our skunk trapping methods and prevention techniques with your family and friends on Facebook and Pinterest?