Animal Health & Welfare

Common Skunks Questions & Answers


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Occasionally a person or an animal surprises a Skunk in a situation where he/she cannot retreat and the Skunk will spray in self-defense. In this case, the quicker you take action, the more completely you can remove the odor. If the animal has been sprayed in the eyes, it’s important to flush them liberally with cold water ASAP. The spray is extremely irritating, but does not cause permanent damage. We recommend a De-Skunking Shampoo made up of:

  • 1 quart peroxide
  • C baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. liquid hand soap

Mix all ingredients together and shampoo the animal thoroughly keeping out of eyes, nose, and mouth. Soak 5 minutes and rinse well.

First thing you want to do is make sure the Skunk has one easy-to-locate exit. Block all other exits. Obtain six to twelve, one inch strips of fabric, tie them in tight knots and soak them in household ammonia. Then, wearing rubber gloves, place these under the deck/porch/house where ever the Skunk has been seen, smelled, or heard. Next, buy cayenne pepper at 90,000 heat units which can be found at your local natural foods store, Whole Foods or Sun Harvest. Sprinkle the pepper generously in areas that the animal has been seen coming and going such as a hole leading under the deck. Animals cannot tolerate the presence of the pepper and they will vacate the area. Note: pets and children should not have access to the pepper! Lights and loud music during the day also disturbs Skunks who sleep during these hours. Once these techniques are used for several days, tape a piece of newspaper over the hole. If it is not disturbed for several more days, you are now safe to cover the hole securely, preventing Skunks or other animals from coming back in.

Often Skunks are drawn to certain houses because they are either feeding their companion animals outside or they have easily accessible garbage. Either one of these things are open invitations for Skunks and other animals to set up camp in or around your home. Pet food should never be left open outside and all garbage must be properly secured to prevent problems before they start.

Protecting a garden from Skunks, Raccoons, and Opossums can be more difficult than protecting your home. In rural areas, low voltage electric fencing may help protect gardens and crops from damage. By installing fencing that is buried at least 1 ½ ft. into the ground, you can avoid Skunks digging into your garden. Animal care Services has found products like "Critter Ridder" to be non-toxic means of discouraging skunks, raccoons and feral cats.

If sod destruction is the problem, the only precaution you can take is to drive long wire pins or wooden stakes into the sod to hold it down until it takes roots. However, keep in mind that a serious June bug problem (which animals such as Skunks, Raccoons, and Opossums eat) may ultimately do more damage than the animals.

Ask the caller if they would be willing to release the Skunk themselves if you could talk them through the process. If they are willing to do so, instruct them to cover the trap with an old tarp or sheet while they are transporting the animal, this makes the ordeal less stressful for the Skunk and prevents them from spraying you directly if the Skunk chooses to do so. Explain that the best release sites are wooded areas with an abundant water source. Once there, prop the door of the trap open and the Skunk should leave on his/her own with in a few minutes.

If the caller is not willing to release the Skunk themselves, have them call Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation.

Educate callers that are attempting to use traps as a means of wildlife control on the futility of trapping. Trapping is an ineffective means of removing wildlife because removing one animal simply opens up a niche for other animals to come in.

Reasons NOT to Live Trap

Live trapping is an ineffective means of controlling wildlife in your yard. By trapping and removing and wild animal you are simply creating a vacancy for more animals to move in. It is more effective to ask yourself why the animals are finding your yard appealing (the answer will probably be either food, water, or shelter) and what you can do to remove what it is that the animal is finding appealing, repel the animal from your yard, and prevent them from returning. Exclusion methods and some degree of tolerance are ultimately more successful and lasting.

Live trapping should never be an option between early spring to early fall. This is the time when most species of native wildlife are having their young and there may be babies in, under, or around your house that are entirely dependent on their mother for food and protection. Any action that prevents the mother from caring for her young will result in suffering for her and a slow death for the babies. Since the family will not stay forever, or even for a very long time (a month or two, perhaps less), it is better to wait until the family vacates and then take action that will prevent the same thing from happening again.

Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc.

Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Logo

24-Hour Hotline: 830.336.2725

Address: 1354 Basse Road, San Antonio, TX 78212  •  Web Address:

Should you find a wild animal in crisis, or need emergency assistance with a wild animal, please contact WRR, 24-hours a day.

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