skunks in des moines

Catch of the Week: Skunk

July 13, 2018

In the spring and summer we start to see a lot of scavengers on the move, making their way into residential areas in search of food and shelter. This week we found a skunk that snuck into a garage in Ankeny. Luckily, the homeowners called our wildlife control experts and we were able to remove the skunk before it could spray its repulsive scent! After placing the skunk into a crate and covering it to keep it calm, our technician relocated the skunk to a wildlife refuge.

What You Need to Know About Skunks

Skunks are rather shy creatures, and will only use their spray as a last-resort defense mechanism when they feel that they or their young are in danger. People should be cautious around these critters, not only for fear of getting sprayed, but also because skunks can be at risk for having rabies or carrying ticks or other parasites that expose them to other diseases. If they do spray, it can shoot as far as 10 feet and cause temporary blindness and a burning sensation if it comes in direct contact with the skin.

How to Know If a Skunk is About to Spray

Skunks will usually give plenty of warning before spraying a threat. They typically stamp their front feet, hiss, raise their tail and make short charges in the direction of the predator. If a skunk raises his tail and turns like he’s about to spray, it’s best to back away slowly and try not to startle them even more.

If you or your pet gets sprayed by a skunk, the strong odor is very hard to remove. According to The Humane Society, the most effective mix to neutralize the smell is:

  • 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap

Make sure you wear rubber gloves to avoid contact with the skin when you’re cleaning clothes or pets that have been sprayed. Continue washing and rinsing with this mixture until the smell is gone. Be especially careful when cleaning pets - avoid their eyes and don’t leave the mixture on too long or the peroxide can bleach their fur.

Keep Skunks Away From Your Yard

Making your yard inhospitable for wildlife to call home can save you from potential property damage and prevent an unwanted guest from getting into your home. Like many wildlife critters, skunks are looking to take over an already existing shelter, such as brush piles, beneath porches and decks or even burrowing under your house. By cleaning up your yard and following some of our helpful tips, you can keep skunks and other scavengers away from your home.

  • Keep trash bins securely closed or inside your garage to avoid critters trying to eat the contents inside.
  • Clean up brush, leaves or wood piles around the yard to take away potential hiding places.
  • Place a sturdy mesh under your deck, shed, etc. to seal of pests and prevent them from digging under your property.
  • Take away any potential food source by picking up fallen fruit from trees, fencing around vegetable gardens and removing bird feeders.

Skunk Repellents

Although wildlife repellents cannot guarantee that skunks and other pests will stay away from your yard, there are a few repellents suggests trying:

  • Predator urine is known to deter a skunk because they don’t want to make a den where they feel threatened. Letting your dogs urinate in areas around the yard is fine, or you can find coyote urine online.
  • Ammonia has been known to keep wildlife away because of its smell, and it can be distressing to the eyes and nose of critters. If you soak an old rag in ammonia and place it under your porch or in an enclosed space it should do the trick.
  • Pepper sprays have been known to keep skunks away, and they should be sprayed near trees or any places where a skunk has been spotted.
  • Most scavengers are nocturnal creatures, so installing bright lights in the yard could deter them from claiming a home nearby.
  • Motion activated sprinklers can scare away most pests that wander through the yard, however, these will sometimes startle a skunk so much that it will spray the area.
  • Citrus peels act as natural repellents and could be scattered across the yard or under patios.

Call Preferred Pest Control to Get Rid of Wild Animals

Our wildlife control technicians can remove skunks and other wildlife in and around your home or business. If you’re noticing damage to your yard or think you’ve spotted a skunk in the area, let our trained professionals take care of it! Call Preferred Pest Control today at (515) 415-5550 or schedule an appointment online.

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