Skunk! How do I get my stinky houseguest to leave?

skunk in house
Photo credit: Matt MacGillivray
Q:

I have a skunk which has set up house keeping under my house and I hear it digging in different areas in my walls (under the shower, around lines of heat pump etc.) its been here about 2 months. How do I get it out from under my house and go somewhere else?

- Lane County, Oregon
A:

This is a good time to be working on this project, because pregnant female skunks will be delivering young May through June -- at which point a denning skunk problem becomes much more complex! You need to identify where the skunk(s) is/are getting under the house. There's a good tip in the "Skunk Removal" section of this publication, in which you can use flour to identify active entrances. Skunks are strong diggers, so you'll need to use durable materials such as welded wire mesh ("hardware cloth") buried beneath the surface and extending to block any surface -level entrance you've identified. Leaving the last/most active entrance open until your final evening of work, you can assure the skunk(s) is/are out and THEN block that last entrance. An alternative approach would be to live-trap the skunk(s) in combination with the blocking of the entrances. You might consider contracting with a licensed Wildlife Control Operator who already owns livetraps built specifically for skunks (solid walls to contain the spray).
There are no deterrents that will make the skunks "want to go elsewhere", so blocking entrance to the spaces they've discovered is going to be your best and most effective short- and long-term option.

Dana Sanchez
Associate Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist
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