Skunk habits

Asked August 22, 2020, 12:30 PM EDT

Our crawl space has been sprayed twice within a week. They enter under a deck then dig beneath the skirting below the siding. There were two entrances but I've now blocked one off. I set up a trail cam as well as a skunk trap at the remaining entrance. I have not caught anything in the trap or on camera. I also removed some of the skirting to take a look at things. There is a ton of pulled down insulation and it still stinks bad. I have put an LED light in there for now and blasted some loud music for a while. Is there a chance that it (or they) are too scared to come out. If so, how long can they hole-up? I don't dare stick my head in there yet. Thank you, Dale

Kent County Michigan

5 Responses

Hi Dale,

Skunks can certainly be a tricky problem once they find a way under your house/deck. They are primarily nocturnal and they probably leave your crawl space each night to forage. I doubt they would hole up for too long just from some loud music. So night would probably be the best time to finish blocking the entrances. You may want to place some predator scent (e.g., coyote urine or some other commercially available scent from your home/garden store) near the entrance to help scare them away too. I'd also leave the trail cam up for a few days after you block the entrance to monitor their activity. If there's a way to stick a camera into the crawl space and take some pictures to see if the skunk(s) are still there, it might be worth trying before blocking an exit just in case they are still in there. At least that way you wouldn't have to stick your entire head inside. Hope this helps!

Thank you Clay.
I did get a opossum coming out, on the cam, at 5:30 this morning. I've got two fans going in the crawl space still. I'm not sure if something may be dead under there because it's starting to smell like another odor besides the skunk. It's really pleasant on these hot days. I had aimed the exhaust from my generator into the opening and ran it for 15-20 minutes a couple days ago. I'm not sure if that would have been long enough to do a number on them or not.

You're welcome, that's definitely an unpleasant situation. Hopefully the skunk or other animal hasn't died in the crawl space. If the smell doesn't go away and/or gets stronger, it's possible the animal died back there. Funny enough, my neighbor just had a similar problem and he ended up using a shopvac to suck out the dead skunk. Although I think in his case the skunk was more between the wall rather than a crawl space. Still might be a solution to keep in mind. Good luck!

Hi Clay,
Just an update. The skunk was dead under there. He must have been attacked or possibly injured by a car and crawled under there to die. I don't know if they release when they die or what. Anyway, I got him out as well as a lot of the materials making up the vapor barrier. It's taken over a week but I think we have a handle on it.
Thanks for your insights,

Thanks for the update and sorry to hear, that's quite the damage for one small critter! I don't think skunks intentionally release their scent glands when they die, but I'd imagine that liquid will naturally release as the tissues/organ keeping it encased start to decompose. I hope the smell goes away soon!