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Skunk removal advice, anecodotes, etc.

So, apparently, if you see a skunk scurry under your porch and want to know when it has left, so you can create a better barricade, one method is to put a little flour near the escape and see if the skunk messes it up on its way out.

Unfortunately, if the skunk waits until you are asleep to make its nightly rounds of digging in garbage cans and whatnot, you have to figure in the morning that it’s back in there.

So now we’re thinking about rigging up something with nails pointing at an angle so it can slide out but can’t slide back in. Any other advice you can provide in the comments is welcome.

It is prime dog-getting-sprayed-by-skunk season, so whatever prevention lessons can be learned by/from humans are good … because, frankly, dogs would much rather get sprayed every night than ever learn a lesson.

Related posts:
Kill the Skunk! – Plus open ranting in the comments about experiences at the West Duluth Kmart
Quel es? … Ahhh … la belle femme skunk fatale!! Tch-tch.

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40 Comment(s)

  1. I would use something like your nail trick but instead use something a little more flexible like chicken wire. Basically, build a fish trap with an open end so they can go free. Make a temporary structure for excluding them and then once you’re sure they’re out of there, build a more permanent barricade.

    I’ve never used it for skunks, but I did something like that to get the birds out of my porch roof and it worked great.

    Barrett Chase | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  2. A radio. Or mothballs.

    adam | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  3. Skunks hate mothballs. However, some dogs will eat mothballs and get sick and possibly die. There’s no safe way to measure your dog’s stupid quotient. Same with antifreeze. You could try a small live trap. A skunk can’t spray if it’s tail is down.

    TimK | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  4. I’ve heard that putting out a radio tuned to a talk-radio station will eventually drive them away. Agreed on the one-way mesh instead of the boards with nails. You don’t want a skunk to get stuck and freak out (and you don’t want to be the one who has to rescue it).
    Obligatory safety reminder: skunks can carry rabies, avoid contact (but I think that goes without saying even for non-rabid skunks).

    BadCat! | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  5. The talk radio thing works, as long as you don’t have it tuned to Glenn Beck.

    Skunks love Glenn Beck.

    Dorkus | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  6. The evil part of me wants to photoshop that…

    BadCat! | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  7. Mothballs are apocryphal. They’re made out of brainmeltethylene. That’s why rodents don’t like them. Until I was about 30, I thought mothballs were something moths made that mammels didn’t like, then I found out they were made from petroleum send-off… And cause cancer, and shruken gonads. I made the mistake of putting them in my wall once because I thought the wind chime was a mouse, then had to beat the drywall out to get rid of it. They would be alright if they sold them in packs of one, instead of a box, which ruins about a thousand square miles of air. I’m been meaning to google natural moth balls actually. Maybe like a wicked mixture of dill and balm of Gilead.

    I knew a guy once who had been sprayed twelve times, grew up on a farm in Iowa and chased em with his dogs. He said the actual substance resembled green candy apple spit. That it’s, so sweet it stinks. Did you taste it Paul?

    Herzog | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  8. We’ve got a cage trap set up, which means either nothing will happen or we will catch a skunk and then get sprayed trying to deal with it.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  9. You really should tie a long rope to the cage.

    That way, if you do catch it you won’t have to get close to it to move it.

    Dorkus | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  10. Somebody ordered takeout the other night…

    adam | Aug 6, 2012 | New Comment
  11. Suckers are bad this year. We’ve got a family of them living on the backside of the garage. At first I thought “wow … one of my nabes is growing some dank” but alas, tis not to be. A momma and six little ones make their home in the pile of junk. | Aug 7, 2012 | New Comment
  12. I wish you all would send some to my place. I love them! They take the nesting holes of rabbits, eat slugs and generally make my garden healthy. The rabbits have eaten single bean plant this year so I’d give anything for some skunk. (Don’t quote me on that!)

    Terry G. | Aug 7, 2012 | New Comment
  13. I second Dorkus’s long rope suggestion. About a month ago, we had a Beagle vs. Skunk standoff. Juuuuuust as the skunk was ready to let it fly, I turned into the Hulk and grabbed our dog’s long leash and YANKED. The leash was long enough that I think I would have been out of the line of fire, had I been one second slower. Also our beagle got to do her Flying Nun routine, which was fun.

    emmadogs | Aug 7, 2012 | New Comment
  14. Light and noise makes them leave. (The talk radio idea is a good one.)

    My cat gets skunked every year. She is dumb, or she likes it. Personally, I’ve got the 3am cat bath down so I can do it in my sleep.

    hbh1 | Aug 7, 2012 | New Comment
  15. Talk radio is tried and true!

    heysme | Aug 7, 2012 | New Comment
  16. Those plastic owls you see around peoples houses, gardens and farms are used to scare away small mammals. Large owls will eat nearly anything and small animals stay away from them. Try one in a well lit area.

    Swan | Aug 7, 2012 | New Comment
  17. The official word from Wildwoods peeps is:
    Talk radio
    Bright lights
    Ammonia soaked rags…

    …to make the habitat unattractive.

    Unofficially, live trapping and relocating is more often than we’d like fatal for the disoriented animal. | Aug 7, 2012 | New Comment
  18. As much as I love my solar-powered owl light, it hasn’t kept the skunk away. And the sneaky bugger stole the peanut butter and didn’t get stuck in the trap last night. It’s an ongoing battle.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 7, 2012 | New Comment
  19. Hippie.

    adam | Aug 8, 2012 | New Comment
  20. Dear Lord, that Scary Owl From The Depths of Middle Earth MUST scare it away. Maybe your skunk simply will risk almost anything to get some peanut butter. Who wouldn’t.

    Seriously, I have got to get an owl like that. That is too cool.

    emmadogs | Aug 8, 2012 | New Comment
  21. This morning I have the wonderful responsibility of hauling a trapped skunk into the woods and setting it free in the rain. Be careful what you wish for is, I guess, the moral of the story. It feels kind of lose-lose.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 8, 2012 | New Comment
  22. This reminds me of that old film Born Free, except with skunks.

    Go in peace, our little skunk friend.
    Just don’t come over to my house.

    emmadogs | Aug 8, 2012 | New Comment
  23. I’m dying to hear the outcome of the skunk-release, Paul.

    KelliL | Aug 8, 2012 | New Comment
  24. City bred Skunk + Woods = Death.

    Dorkus | Aug 8, 2012 | New Comment
  25. The short version of the story is that around noon I opened the trap so the skunk could exit. As of 2:30 p.m. the skunk was still snuggled up inside the trap.

    The long version of the story will have to wait.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 8, 2012 | New Comment
  26. You could move to Superior and keep it as a pet.

    Tom | Aug 8, 2012 | New Comment
  27. So here’s the deal:

    After some head scratching and realizing that no matter where I let the skunk go it was going to be problem, I decided to take it to a reasonably nearby location to avoid any catastrophe that might happen while driving with it.

    So I chose Irving Park.

    Warning about the video: It does not really show the skunk, and no one gets sprayed, so don’t raise your expectations. The video includes a useless caption in one spot that I somehow mistakenly activated and failed to notice before uploading the video. I’m just not going to take the time to fix that; I’ve put in enough skunk time today.

    The only reason I bother with this video at all is because some of you want a conclusion to the story and I do want to emphasize how a couple hours of my day were lost due to skunk relocation. Upon reflection, I recommend just getting sprayed.

    And that blurry figure bicycling across the street really is Murder House guy.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 8, 2012 | New Comment
  28. Apparently we are in the midst of a three-week “skunk season.”

    Skunk season arrives in Central Minnesota

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  29. Wait…what’s that noise I hear coming from inside that blue trap….is it…


    This is so funny, and you are a good person for trying to rescue a skunk.

    P.S. that sandwich looks delicious.

    emmadogs | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  30. I didn’t “rescue” that skunk, I trapped and displaced it. I rescued myself.

    I’ll take credit for being a good person for rescuing Murder House guy, though. He rode his bike right up to the trap with the intention of investigating it and I had to put aside my desire to avoid Murder House guy to let him know he was about to meet a skunk.

    You might think I should have recorded that scene — since Murder House guy getting sprayed would be viral video gold — but I make it my policy to not give paranoid schizophrenics extra reasons to think I’m out to get them.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  31. You’re right, ‘rescued’ isn’t the right word; ‘escaped with your life’ is the better phrase, both from the skunk and, from what I understand, Murder House guy.

    emmadogs | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  32. Or, Tom, he could stay in Duluth and keep it as a pet as I personally know 2 Duluthians and 1 Hermantownite who have pet skunks, and no one from Superior who does.

    Jadiaz | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  33. Interesting, Jadiaz. I’ve never heard of anyone local owning a pet skunk. I just said Superior based on state laws. Apparently you’re not allowed to own them in Minnesota, but you can in Wisconsin with a permit. I’m guessing the people you know don’t exactly advertise the fact to government agencies and law enforcement.

    Tom | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  34. I know all 3 take them to the vets for shots and checkups. One of the families has a nephew who’s a member of the DPD. Other than that, probably not.

    Jadiaz | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  35. That’s interesting. I have no problem with people owning them if they take care of them (and it sounds as though it’s a lot harder than owning a cat). But knowing how people like to complain about everything, I’m surprised there’s not more uproar about it.

    Tom | Aug 9, 2012 | New Comment
  36. Once one has a dead skunk in one’s yard, that was killed by one’s dogs at 4am, spraying both dogs and the husband who went out to break up the action, what does one do with the carcass?

    BTW: a solution of dishsoap, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda works well to get rid of the smell. And according to the nice lady at Walgreens on Superior Street this morning at 5am, they’ve had so many people coming in for skunk de-smellification, they’ve talked about putting up an endcap with the ingredients.

    jessige | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  37. Oh, how we know this recipe well.

    What does one do with the carcass?

    Hopefully Jessige is referring to the skunk and not the husband.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  38. The husband can stay, though he was nearly a second victim for having brought the dogs into the house post-trauma.

    I shared your live-trapping story with him, to which he responded, “If his wife wanted him to do that, that’s true love. If he did it on his own, he’s nuts.”

    jessige | Aug 10, 2012 | New Comment
  39. In a hardly important and barely relevant follow up: Apparently all the police attention referred to in my video of the skunk release was related to a couple that had been passing around bad checks. They were caught.

    Paul Lundgren | Aug 13, 2012 | New Comment
  40. They were caught, the little skunk was caught, and in a larger, more existential sense, are we not all caught? Somehow, some way?

    Philosopher Emmadogs

    emmadogs | Aug 13, 2012 | New Comment

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