of Rhode Island GreenShare Factsheets
enter yards seeking reliable food sources. Earthworms and the large,
white grubs of the Japanese beetle are often responsible for a skunk's
interest. Although it may be possible to remove an individual skunk,
another will likely arrive to replace it as long as reliable food
The most effective
solution to managing skunk problems is to make your yard unattractive
to skunks by eliminating protective cover, potential sites used
for dens and food sources (e.g., accessible pet food dishes, uncovered
garbage cans, unprotected compost piles). Burrows underneath
decks and porches are favorite denning locations for skunks and
woodchucks, particularly beneath structures having lattice-work
or heavy landscaping covering the perimeter, which provide perfect
cover and protection from predators. If you find a burrow which
appears fresh, you can identify the occupants by putting down a
very thin sprinkling of baking flour around the opening or along
any access points to the den. If it is occupied, you can identify
the occupant by the tracks left in the flour (check a field
to animal tracks available in most public libraries).
one option for skunk control, but fencing an entire yard is not
always practical or economical. In order for a fence to be
it must be buried at least 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm) and the fence
should extend in an "L" out away from the base of the fence
an additional 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm). Skunks are efficient
diggers and readily
will dig under an improperly installed fence in a matter of minutes.
can be effective but will rarely provide a permanent solution to
problems caused by skunks. A 10 inch x 10 inch x 32 inch cage
(with a single operating door, not a two-door trap) is needed.
For bait, try a can of cat food (fish) or sardines. Cover the
burlap, cloth, a plastic garbage bag or other material before positioning
the trap. Cover all but the last 3 to 4 inches of the top near
door. Trapping regulations vary according to the state; most states
stipulate that traps must be checked at least once every 24
and any animals caught must be disposed of within that time period.
Relocation is not legal in Rhode Island and is not as humane
many people believe--many relocated animals perish during encounters
with predators, motor vehicles, and other individuals of the
species as the displaced individual tries to return to the "home" territory.
Relocation may also contribute to the spread of infectious disease
(e.g., rabies and distemper) by moving animals from contaminated
areas to presently uninfected regions. Homeowners also put themselves
at risk of exposing themselves to these diseases if bitten or scratched
when attempting to relocate nuisance animals.
The only product
currently registered (federal standards) for use on skunks is the
sodium nitrate gas cartridge, used to treat burrows. Because they
are considered a combustible device, never use a gas cartridge in
burrows located beneath or immediately adjacent to a building or
in areas dominated by heavy, dry vegetation to avoid a potential
from Jim Parkhurst, Virginia Cooperative Extension, 1999
are poisonous! Read and follow all safety precautions on labels.
Handle carefully and store in original containers out of reach
of children, pets or livestock. Dispose of empty containers
immediately, in a safe manner and place. Pesticides should never
be stored with foods or in areas where people eat.
When trade names are used for identification, no product endorsement
is implied, nor is discrimination intended against similar materials.
Be sure that the pesticide you intend to use is registered for
the state of use.
The user of this information assumes all risk for personal injury
or property damage.
information, call the URI CE Gardening and Food Safety Hotline
at 1-800-448-1011 or (401)874-2929 from outside Rhode Island;
Monday-Thursday between 9 am and 2 pm.
of Rhode Island Cooperative Extension provides equal program