Hi-- Yesterday morning we saw a skunk who came out from under our backyard...

Asked April 6, 2020, 4:08 PM EDT

Hi-- Yesterday morning we saw a skunk who came out from under our backyard shed. It seems to have been looking for food in our compost pile. When we made noise, it ran under our shed. We did not see it leave (but it may have because we were not observing it all day long). Should we be concerned and try to have it removed? We've never seen a skunk before in our yard. Thank you

Franklin County Ohio

2 Responses

Hello and thanks for reaching out. It is not uncommon to see a skunk around our homes. Skunks are quite common within our communities. They feed on a variety of different foods, such as insects, plant material, rodents, and as you saw, will take advantage of human food as well. They den underground, using old burrows from other animals (like groundhogs), but will also excavate their own burrows. They will use open spaces under building foundations for a den, which may be what is going on with the skunk you saw under your shed.

This time of year, females are having young. I say this so you are aware that you may have a female with young living under your shed. It could also be a male living alone. So what are your options? While skunks are notorious for their spraying, they are not dangerous and do not spray unless they feel very threatened. The fact that the skunk you saw ran back to the burrow under your shed is a good sign. Skunks are most active at night, which is ideal as it and you will encounter each other less during that time. If you continue to scare the skunk when you see it, it will likely stick to nightly forays rather than venturing our during the day. If it is a female with young, she and her young will likely leave the den by mid-late summer. So you may choose to leave the skunk alone. If you are not comfortable with this, you can choose to remove the skunk.

If you choose to have the skunk removed, here is a list of professionals for hire that can help. http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/Portals/wildlife/PDFs/Licenses%20&%20Permits/CNWACO%20Current%20Lice...
Be aware that a professional will likely trap, then euthanize the skunk. If you choose to go that route, please make sure the professional also checks to make sure there are no young still in the burrow. If there are, they will also need to be trapped.

A final recommendation would be to remove any food attractants in your yard, such as the compost pile you mentioned. If you have any other attractants in your yard such as pet food left outside, a bird feeder that attracts a lot of rodents, or rodents living in your shed, these are all food sources to skunks and should be removed or managed (in the case of rodents). Whether the skunk is living under your shed or not, removing food sources for wild animals in your yard is always a good strategy.

Thank you. The information you provided is very helpful. Based on this information, we have decided to allow the skunk to live under the shed and we will be more careful with our compost pile also.