How to Get Rid of Skunks in Your Backyard?


You may be wondering how to get rid of skunks in your backyard if any have taken up residence there. Anyone who has accidentally startled a skunk while trying to make it go away can attest to how horrible the consequences may be. Not only can a frightened skunk create a horrendous odor; it can also cause temporary blindness if the spray gets near its victim’s eyes. Although it’s not easy to get rid of skunks, taking the following steps may help you drive away the unwelcomed skunks in your backyard.

Necessary materials

To rid yourself of the uninvited guests, you will need certain materials. These materials are:

  • Bright outdoor lighting
  • Rags soaked in ammonia
  • Dog urine
  • Lemon or orange peels

Getting rid of skunks may require taking one or more steps, depending on how persistent and adaptable the pests may be. Try one step at a time or in any combination as you deem necessary to solve the problem.

Eliminating attractions

The first step is to eliminate anything that may be attracting the skunks to your backyard. Skunks will eat any pet food, garbage, fruits, bird seeds or vegetables that they find lying around. So keep these types of items in tightly-sealed containers and remove any trash from the premises as quickly as possible. Adequately fence off any vegetable gardens or fruit trees and promptly remove fallen or rotting produce.

The skunks may also be attracted due to easy access to shelter. So eliminating this access is essential to the permanent riddance of these unwelcomed critters. You must close off any open spaces beneath your porch, house or deck. Please be sure to carefully evict the entire skunk family before sealing the access point. Once you have coaxed the skunks out into the open, you may then fill the hole with rocks or dirt. Or use some 1/8 inch hardware mesh to screen off the area.

Illuminating yard

The next step is to brightly illuminate the yard at night. Skunks tend to be nocturnal creatures and prefer residing and feeding where they can blend in with the darkness of night. Naturally, you do not want to upset your neighbors, disrupt your family’s sleep or make you electric bill unaffordable. So you may want to use solar lighting or lighting that works off of a motion sensor. Although this may seem like extra work and expense, it does serve other purposes too. Once you get rid of the skunks, your family can enjoy night-time activities in the yard if you have adequate lighting. The extra lighting also increases safety and security for the home and its residents, since it will help to deter criminal activities too.

Chemical warfare

If the first two steps aren’t enough, then start using chemical warfare. Simply soak rags in ammonia and then place them all around the yard’s perimeters. Skunks don’t like the strong ammonia odor. Be sure to reapply the ammonia to the rags once in awhile to keep the scent strong enough to be effective.

Dog urine is also an effective chemical weapon, since dogs are a skunk’s natural predators. If you can collect it, put the urine in a spray bottle and then generously spray your back yard with it. However, it might be easier to just purchase the products containing dog urine that are available on the market. As with the ammonia, the dog urine will have to be re-applied once in awhile, especially after it rains.

Citrus fruits

Allegedly, skunks also dislike the scent and taste of citrus fruits, especially lemons and oranges. Apparently, these fruits have natural insect and pest repellent attributes. So you may want to slice up a variety of oranges and/or lemons and place the peels throughout your backyard. The lemons and oranges may repel many other unwelcomed guests too, such as cats, spiders and mosquitoes. After the skunks leave your backyard, they may take up residency in your neighbors’ yards. So your neighbors will most certainly want to know how you managed to get rid of skunks in your backyard.


Author: Neil

Neil Wardlow has been writing professionally since 1989. Neil discovered he enjoyed writing when he suffered an injury during his 15-year building construction career. Neil now writes full-time, whenever he’s not occupied with entertaining family and friends, growing things, or making repairs in and around his beautiful ranch house.

36 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Skunks in Your Backyard?”

  1. Interesting..  I put my dog in the bathroom with a spray bottle for 30 minutes.  He refuses to fill it for me.  Any ideas?

    1. Hoof…I have the same problem with my dog, but I think it because he is concerned that I am trying to do a drug test on him…

  2. LOL!  That is so funny, Hooflungpoo_u!  I doubt if either of my dogs would fill up a spray bottle with urine, no matter how long I left them in the bathroom.  The simplest way to get dog urine spread around your property is to let the dog run lose or take it for walks around your property while you guide it with a leash.  A dog, especially a male dog, will usually voluntarily mark it’s territory with urine. And if it smells where a skunk has been, it will most likely respond by reclaiming the area as its own territory.

  3. I don’t buy the citrus peels. The skunk in our backyard is picking the oranges and lemons! Perhaps he needs to read the book. We have tons of citrus locally and they are attracted to it.

  4. LOL! It would be nice if the pests and annoying creatures all read the same books we humans did, Hatesthesmell!  Unfortunately, that never seems to happen.

    One method of deterring a skunk that Neil didn’t mention in this article is to place artificial owls and other predatory birds around the property.  A mechanical one that flaps its wings and makes owl sounds is a whole lot more effective than the citrus peels are.  Of course, it’s even more effective to use real birds of prey, but that’s usually not an option for anyone living in an urban area.  Although there are plenty of red tail hawks and owls in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  If you can’t find any artificial owls you can always just play a tape recording or CD that has owls, hawks or eagles.  Maybe the sound will be enough to scare the skunk away.

    You can also use artificial wolves, dogs, and foxes this way.

  5. I put in solar lights and has keep all most all the skunks away I just need
    more solar lights. I’m in California and have light a lot. so use solar lights
    and it helps keep the skunks away just need more light and to cover some areas.
    As you see if you live in a area that may have power black out the sunk’s know
    that and move in. Plus solar save on the Power bill.

    1. Brian, using solar lights is a good choice if you’re going to use any type of lighting.  It would get kind of expensive keeping a light on all night long, every day of the year otherwise.  We live in a very rural area so use a street light type light to keep the wild critters from getting too close to the house at night.  But we use it more as a light for us to see by rather than as a light for deterring anything or anyone else away from the house.  Otherwise it gets so dark you can’t even see your own hand when the moon isn’t up.

  6. Edward, I’ve seen lots of skunks out during the daytime too.  But for the most part, they are nocturnal creatures and prefer the cover of darkness.  Or at least here in our forest and mountains they do.  It probably makes a difference on where the skunks reside and the number of natural enemies they are surrounded by. We have lots of hawks and eagles in our area and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind having a skunk for lunch.

      1. Tekoah11, a skunk will most likely emit its spray if you shoot at it and miss hitting it in the brain. As long as the skunk can raise its tail, it can spray.

        Skunks make the spray by mixing two chemical together that they secrete from sacs in their anal glands. There will be a horrendous odor as long as these two chemicals get mixed together. That’s why roadkill skunks smell so badly even after they’re long dead.

    1. Ron_pnard, using a 22 is indeed a quick & effective method, as long as you live in a rural area and are a goods marksman. A shotgun with #7 or #8 shot works well too! LOL! Just don’t miss the skunk’s head when you shoot it.

  7. Cotton balls soaked in ammonia have done the trick! Look for possible areas where the stinker is entering and place a ball. Come back every couple of days to re-soak the balls. Stinker did not come back! I also cut up lemons and threw them about one day, but didn’t repeat that.

    1. Gayle, ammonia seems to be much more effective for repelling skunks than lemon peels are. If you want to eliminate having to refresh the ammonia smell so frequently, you can use cloth rags soaked in pure ammonia instead of the cotton balls. They still need to have the ammonia aroma refreshed now and then, but not quite as often as cotton balls do. You can just tie the soaked rags near the entrances the skunks are using.

  8. One needs to be very careful when trying to trap a Skunk. They can spray when they are scared. To move a skunk in a trap, drop a sheet over the trap, pick it up gently
    without shaking. Skunks only spray when they raise their tails. If the trap is low
    and the skunk is unable to raise their tail, they won’t spray. For skunk control I have used Havahart’s product and they do work as advertised.

    1. JImmy, I agree with you that a person needs to use extreme caution when trying to trap a skunk. The site gives some very useful information as well as sells live animal traps that come in various sizes.

      I didn’t realize just how beneficial skunks could be until I visited the Havahart website.

      1. if you do trap the skunk take it and release it on the other side of a bridge or stream. The warden said they don’t like to cross over water for some reason if thats an option

  9. Our skunks are obviously more stubborn than average. They don’t care if it’s light or dark, they’ll dig under anything to get where they want, they laugh at dog urine, ammonia & citrus fruit! We removed an entire deck that was used for shelter, tried the motion light thing, placed forty pound rocks over their entryways, and finally had them trapped and released five or ten miles away. One year later, they are back. The 22 isn’t an option where we live, so we’re trying a motion activated sprinkler. It is frightening them repeatedly, I just wonder how long it will take for them to learn!

    1. Dawn, the skunks may not be the same ones you hauled off before. There must be something that is attracting the skunks to your yard still. Skunks look for a good source of food and water, as well as shelter. It sounds like you’ve eliminated most of the shelter, but what have you done to eliminate their food and water sources?

  10. Please help, I live out in the country and have had skunks digigng my yard every year. But this year we must have an army because our yards in my neighborhood are being destroyed. We have tried it all from lights, moth balls, fox urine, etc we even hired a trapper. He put out several traps for 2 weeks but has not caught one skunk. He says after a few hard frosts they will stop grubbing but that has not happened yet. We have done grub control for a few years but they still keep digging. This morning no skunks tapped but holes dug all around the area where traps are set. Other than the neighborhood staying up all night to chase them away, any suggestions?

    1. Mimiinpa , I can easily sympathize with your situation. I live in the country too and a skunk sprayed somewhere near the house a few nights ago. I’m pretty sure it got our dog. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to get him too closely, since the smell is wearing off already.

      If your rural property is any thing like mine, you probably can’t completely eliminate all the sources of food, water and shelter that might be attracting the skunks to your property. But I’m surprised that your birds of prey aren’t helping to keep the skunks from being so bold. Despite living in a very rural area that should attract skunks, we seldom have any on our own property. Perhaps you should try to entice some hawks and/or owls to come live on your property.

  11. In my experience nuking them is fairly effective, however there may be some collateral damage to your neighborhood. I would check with your local town government before you nuke em.

    1. Land mines might be more fun. If a skunk likes to spray in your yard. Spray your yard with the skunk. : )

      1. Land mines may be effectively entertaining for you and your Neighbors. Just don’t forget where they are when mowing!

  12. I put out a bunch of rotten oranges from my tree and they are all half eaten near the skunk burrow/nest. I do not think they hate oranges unless some other animal is eating them.

    1. alternatively….start playing Johnny Cash songs. Evolution is real, but it takes generations before critters will learn when to run away.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *