Meagan Francis

Meagan Francis


Of all the critters I do not want to see in my garden, the one that takes the prize for "Most Un-Wanted" is the common skunk. Sure, from a distance they're kind of cute. But not only are these nocturnal mammals capable of stinking up the joint, they can also make off with your best produce under cover of night. And scaring them away with a broom is not a great option unless you want to end up soaking in tomato juice all night.

One Way to Keep Unwanted Critters Out: A Screened-In Garden 13 photos

Luckily, there are some things you can do to get rid of Pepe Le Pew:

Don't Feed The Skunk

Skunks are skittish, shy creatures, so if one finds its way into your yard, chances are good it's got a compelling reason to be there: i.e. food. Is your trash container securely covered? Is an open compost pile, pet food or a bird feeder attracting the skunks? Fruits and veggies in your garden can act as skunk bait, so try surrounding your crops with a low fence. The skunks won't be able to climb over, but a motivated critter can dig under a fence, so consider burying several inches of fence or sprinkling cayenne or chili powder around the fence perimeter to act as a deterrent.

Bright Lights, Scared Skunks

Skunks are night-dwelling animals, and don't like bright light. A motion-activated flood lamp will often startle them off.

What's That Smell?

It may seem ironic, but skunks hate certain odors (as if they have room to judge). Citrus, ammonia, mothballs and predator urine (dog, coyote, etc) are three smells that can scare off skunks. If you use mothballs or ammonia-soaked cotton balls, be sure to keep them far away from children.

Send Them Packing

If you can find where the skunk is living, you can fill up its hole with dirt. Just be careful in spring, when the skunk may have babies in her den! And if you're really desperate, you may be able to trap the skunk live, then remove it to another natural area. Too skittish to go head-to-head with a persistent skunk? Try the phone book. Search under pest control or wildlife control online or in the yellow pages. Sometimes, it's just best to leave delicate jobs to the experts.

5 Comments About this Article

  • HGTVPaul
    No skunks in the city yet. But, I do have a terrible problem with chipmunks!

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Barbara Baker
    Cleveland Has Lots of Skunks thanks for the tips

    Posted 2 years ago

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  • Bold Truth
    Do NOT use mothballs for this kind of purpose. It is poison to animals and humans plus against EPA regulations. Dumb advice that should be removed.

    Posted 11 months ago

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  • Joannie Layne
    Thanks to Bold Truth for the advice. Home depot recommended Moth Balls to me. I didn't go for it either.

    Posted 10 months ago

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  • anonymous
    If mothballs are poison, why are they used in the house to keep moths from destroying clothing? I had heard the mothballs keep skunks away rumor and decided to try it as a last ditch effort before I loaded a pistol and took care of it the messy and loud way. Bought about 3 pounds of mothballs and a few pair of pantyhose. Cut off the feet of the hose, put mothballs in tied them off. Placed several of these bags under the shed where the skunk was living - within a week the skunk had abandoned the cozy spot under the shed...I'll keep using them as long as they keep the skunks away!

    Posted 9 months ago

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