How do I deter skunks from digging under the fence and coming into the yard?...

Asked October 10, 2015, 1:22 PM EDT

How do I deter skunks from digging under the fence and coming into the yard? Thank you.

Stephens County Oklahoma skunks

1 Response

With skunks, an effective management option is habitat modification, which means identifying the habitat component that is attracting the skunk (usually food or shelter) and modifying or eliminating it. Are there food sources available in your yard (garbage, pet food, high rodent populations, bee hives) or an area where the skunk may be denning (under house foundation, deck, porch)? This time of year, skunks are causing damage to yards by searching for underground insects, specifically grubs. Have you noticed any holes in your yard that are shallow and 1.5 to 2 inches in diameter? They may be quite numerous. This is evidence of skunk griubbing - digging just deep enough to get the insects. Some relief may be achieved by using a chemical that kills the grubs, but this would be an option for next season. Applying grub control after the damage begins will not help during this growing season as it is not uncommon for grubbing to continue for 2 weeks or more after the initial application. Grub control works best when applied BEFORE damage begins. Typically, the skunk will move on once the food source is gone, in roughly 2-3 weeks.

If you do not want to wait, then trapping the skunk may be your best option. This publication offers some advice on trapping skunks: Please note: The fact sheet says to relocate the trapped skunk at least 10 miles away. This is a regional fact sheet, therefore state laws are not included. In Ohio, it is illegal to relocate a trapped skunk. The skunk must be euthanized or released back onto the property where it was caught. This law is in place to prevent the spread of diseases. You can also hire a professional Nuisance Wild Animal Control operator (NWACO) to assist you in trapping the skunk. A list of NWACOs by county can be found here: