How to Get Rid of a Skunk Under Your Porch

Skunks like to make their homes in dark, hidden areas where they feel safe. If you start to notice a skunk smell emanating from your deck or porch, it’s likely a skunk has moved in. But don’t freak out yet, today we will teach you how to get rid of a skunk under your porch.

How to get rid of a skunk under my porch? Two skunks crawling out from under a deck.

How to Get Rid of a Skunk Under My Porch

Skunks are a common problem for homeowners since skunks see the space underneath decks, porches and houses as a safe place to make their den.

If a skunk has made its new home under your porch, you’ve got a tenant that you need to evict asap. An you have good reason to want the critters gone since startled skunks can spray your family members or pets as a defense mechanism at any time. 

Besides the smell being absolutely horrific, skunks can be incredibly dangerous to humans and pets. Approximately 20% of wild skunks have rabies.

You should never attempt to remove a skunk by hand!

Luckily, you have several options for getting rid of the wild skunks under your porch. There are several effective methods for you to encourage the skunk inhabitants to leave and find shelter elsewhere.

Read on to learn how you can get rid of skunks under your porch.

Photo of a skunk going under a wooden porch | How to get rid of a skunk under your deck.

Find What Attracted Skunks to Your Property

Before you set out to remove the skunks from under your porch, the first thing you need to do is figure out what has attracted them there in the first place. That way, when your skunk visitors have gone, you can prevent them from returning. 

When searching for a home, a mother skunk will look for a suitable place to have her babies. An adult female skunk will look for the following attributes when deciding on a place to burrow:

  • Quiet
  • Dark
  • Safe from predators

What a lot of people do not realize is that the space underneath a house or porch is the perfect spot for female skunks to build their den. And, once a skunk family has moved in, the skunks will not leave until they are forced out. 

The easiest way to prevent skunks from seeking solace under your home is to make the area unappealing.

Once you realize you have a skunk problem, your first thought will be to get the skunks to leave, but it’s important to figure out what attracted the skunks to your property and take measures to remedy it. Otherwise, you’re just going to have the skunk move right back in.

Remove All Food Sources

The most common reason skunks migrate to a property because of easily accessible food.

If a skunk can find food in your yard, setting up a den under your porch seems like a no-brainer. To discourage the skunks from sticking around, remove all food sources that the skunks can access. 

Skunks are poor climbers, but they are very good at digging. Skunks love fruit, vegetables, and nuts and they will use the sharp claws on their front feet to easily dig through and scavenge any potential food they find. 

Skunks will dig through the following areas in search of food: 

  • Trash cans
  • Compost piles
  • Vegetable gardens
  • Barbecues and grills
  • Bird feeders
  • Outdoor pet food

If you have skunks under your porch, you’re going to need to remove all of their potential food sources. Once the adult skunks realize that food is not easy to find near your property, they will be forced to move on in search of a more habitable place to live.

Outdoor Pet Food and Bird Feeders

Skunk eating chicken food in a backyard.

Two more common food sources skunks find outside are pet food and bird feeders.

If you have any pet food for your cats and dogs outside, be sure to keep their food bowls out of reach from other animals. Even if your pets eat inside, if you store their food outside, wild animals smell it and come looking. Keep all outdoor pet food securely contained.

If you feed your pets outside you will need to remove the bowl once meal time is over. This will prevent the skunks from coming to eat any food that has been left out after your cat or dog is done.

Bird feeders are usually filled with nuts, seeds, and sometimes berries. Skunks love all of these treats and will try to break into bird feeders to get at the food inside.

Since skunks are poor climbers, skunks do not typically see bird feeders as their number one food source. If all of your bird feeders are hanging from above or on a tall post, skunks are less likely to reach the food inside.

However, birds are messy eaters. Any crumbs and morsels they drop on the ground below the bird feeder become easy pickings for the skunks taking shelter under your home. 

Trash Cans and Compost Piles

Your trash bins and garbage cans are prime resources for skunks and other wild animals to find food. If you go outside one morning to see that your plastic trash can has been overturned, you can bet that a skunk, raccoon, possum, or other animal smelled food inside.

If nocturnal animals are getting into your garbage can at night, it is not only a nuisance for you as a homeowner, the trash can end up blowing into others’ yards too. Additionally, it is dangerous for animals to search through trash cans for food because they could ingest inedible or toxic items and become severely ill.

It is important to regularly empty your trash can so animals are not attracted to its smell.

The best way for you to keep skunks out of your trash is by using locking, heavy-duty garbage bins outside.

An outdoor storage shed is also a great place to keep your garbage cans and store bulk pet food.

The organic matter in compost piles can also attract skunks. People normally compost food, including table scraps, and skunks can smell this from far away. As with trash cans, keep your compost pile covered and in a secure container to keep skunks out. 

Vegetable Gardens and Outdoor Barbecues

If you grow vegetables, you know that any outdoor garden is susceptible to animals who want to come by for a tasty meal. The best way to keep skunks from raiding your vegetable garden is to keep it fenced in and surrounded by an exclusion barrier.

  • Prop up sheet metal covered in chicken wire around your vegetable garden. Skunks will struggle to climb up the wire mesh and slip on the smooth metal. They will not be able to enter your garden to steal your vegetables.
  • Ensure your garden’s perimeter fence is deep enough that skunks will not dig underneath it. An exclusion barrier will also help keep skunks from burrowing under your garden fence into the garden.
  • Keep in mind that skunks are persistent. Once they know food is nearby, they will try everything they can to reach it. Any barrier you set up around your garden should be heavily reinforced.

Without proper access to your garden vegetables, skunks will not see it as a plausible food source. They will be forced to move on to find food.

Outdoor barbecues and grills cause the same issue as they smell delicious. Keep these secured and covered, as well. If you cook outside a lot, make sure you clean up your grill regularly so skunks are not tempted to search it for crumbs.

Locate and Block Entry Holes

Skunk entering through a hold under a deck.

To get rid of skunks from under your porch, you have to find out exactly how the skunks are coming and going.

  • Is there a hole that allows them access to the crawl space?
  • Have they dug their own tunnel underneath your house? 

You must prevent the skunks from gaining access to the porch underneath. Search for holes and openings.

Once you have located every den entrance, fill up or block off the holes so the skunks cannot return to their nest. Locate all of them so the skunks will not have a way back under your porch. 

You can patch holes with steel mesh, sheet metal, or other barriers that a skunk cannot penetrate.

Be sure that no skunks are present when you start working on the holes. Additionally, do not separate skunk babies from their mothers. If you find skunk babies but no mother, she is probably out finding food. She and her babies should be out of the nest when you begin to work on it.

Use Gentle Deterrents

Skunk harassment tactics include anything that makes a skunk want to leave your property of its own accord.

For example, skunks enjoy quiet, dark spaces to create their dens. If you install floodlights or outdoor motion-sensing lights, the resident skunks will no longer have a calm, dark place to nest. 

Additionally, you can pack the skunks’ entry points with dirt. This will annoy the skunk, as they will have to re-dig their holes every time they come back to their nest under your porch. 

Just like humans, skunks will eventually become fed up with the subtle harassment and move on to find a new, more pleasant home.

Utilize Skunk Repellent 

There are several types of skunk repellent you can use to keep skunks away from your porch.

You can find different chemical skunk repellents online.

Natural Armor Animal & Rodent Repellent Spray. Repels Skunks, Raccoons, Rats, Mice, Deer Rodents & Critters. Repeller & Deterrent in Powerful Peppermint Formula – 128 Fl Oz Gallon Refill RTU
  • GETS RID OF and KEEPS AWAY - Skunks, Raccoons, Rats, Mice, Deer and Other Nuisance Pests & Critters From Unwanted Areas Such As Homes, Yards, Flowers, Gardens and Landscaping

Skunks have sensitive noses and a strong sense of smell, so certain chemicals and scents will discourage skunks from coming onto your property.

Chemical skunk repellents include:

  • Predator urine, such as fox urine
  • Old rags soaked in ammonia
  • Mothballs

Spray chemical repellents on the problem areas where skunks can easily access, such as your vegetable garden, trash cans, and around the entry points to your crawl spaces.

If you want to use skunk repellent pellets, sprinkle them around the same areas. Not all skunks will react the same way to chemical skunk repellent. It is best to use chemical repellent along with other methods to encourage skunks to leave. 

Natural Skunk Repellent

You can also DIY your own skunk repellent instead of buying commercial products.

Usually, you can create skunk deterrents using items from around your home without ever having to visit a store or spend money.

You can create a pepper spray that includes capsaicin, an irritant made from chili peppers. Cayenne pepper will irritate a skunk’s nose and discourage them from sticking around.

Similarly, peppermint oil also deters skunks because of its strong smell. However, keep in mind that both of these ingredients can make animals sick if ingested. If you have pets, be mindful of what DIY ingredients you spray on your property. 

If you have a house cat, sprinkling used cat litter outside can also act as a skunk deterrent. Similar to the aforementioned fox urine, smelling predator urine can cause skunks to sense nearby predators, keeping them away.

Skunk caught in a humane trap | how to remove skunk from patio

Set Live Traps to Catch and Relocate Skunks

If skunks are nesting under your porch, you can set live traps to catch the skunks. Once you have a trapped skunk, you can relocate it to a faraway place off of your property. 

To trap a skunk, you must lure a skunk into a humane trap by placing smelly food inside. Skunks enjoy peanut butter and other strong-smelling human foods like fish. Place the food lure deep into the back of the trap so the door can shut inward once a skunk enters.

Important things to consider when setting live traps:

  • Do not separate a mother skunk from her young. If you catch a mother skunk in a live trap, you should make sure there are no baby skunks being left behind. 
  • Check your live traps regularly. You do not want to keep an animal trapped without access to water longer than you need to.
  • Skunks sometimes do not survive relocation. They can become disoriented and unable to find food or shelter. 

Be aware that handling a wild skunk can cause it to spray you at any moment. It is not recommended that you relocate skunks yourself unless you have the know-how to do so.

If you plan to trap and relocate a skunk, you can use a skunk-specific trap that is designed to prevent spraying. However, keep in mind that this style of trap is very constricting and likely uncomfortable for the animal. 

Call Wildlife Rehabilitators to Retrieve Skunks

If you are not comfortable setting your own skunk trap, or if you would rather leave it to the professionals, you can reach out to your local wildlife control rehabilitator.

Let these people know you need skunk removal and they will come to your home and retrieve the skunks for you. They are well-practiced in handling wild animal retrieval, and they will have the necessary tools and expertise.

Wild animal rehabilitators can also provide for and care for baby skunks if a mother skunk has had offspring under your porch.

By calling a professional rehabilitator or animal control officer, you will not have to worry about potentially harming a mother skunk or her young.

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While your first instinct might be to freak out if you find a skunk under your porch, just take a deep breath and calm down. Because skunks can be dangerous and cause disease it’s important that you come up with a plan to remove the skunk that will keep everyone and the animal safe. The first steps you should take are to eliminate all food sources and block entry to the space when the animal is not inside. If that doesn’t fix the problem you can use repellents, traps or call in the professionals.