Many nuisance situations are unwittingly brought on by home owners. Leaving pet foods out for wildlife to access is the #1 attraction for unwanted animals in your yard, garage or barn. This offers them a free and easy meal, and when done regularly it can change the animals normal feeding habits. And if a mother skunk, possum or raccoon begins to bring her offspring to the feeding dish it is training a new generation the wrong way and place to find food. When this easy meal plan is not available wildlife will forage for their natural foods of small rodents, reptiles, and insects, ridding your yard and shelters of other unwanted pests. Mice, rats, moles, snakes, spiders, grasshoppers, beetles, bees, wasps and more are all part of a skunks natural diet. When you rid your property of local wildlife you will soon see an increase of these other nuisance pests. Also, removing the unwanted animal by any means, does not solve the problem. It only opens the territory for another critter to claim. The best solution to ridding your yard of unwanted wildlife is to take steps to remove what is attracting that animal in the first place.
1) Do not leave pet foods out over-night for wildlife to access.
2) Remove any brush, wood or rock piles that may be shelter for wildlife.
3) Water your lawn early in the day so it will dry before night time. A moist lawn brings grubs closer to the surface, attracting skunks, armadillos and others to dig for this yummy delight.
4)Repair access points around the base of your house to prevent digging underneath.
Skunks are not climbers and cannot access your attic. They are not chewers and will not chew up wiring or wood. They prefer meat over vegetation, so if you find a skunk in your garden he is most likely eating the grasshoppers & beetles that are eating your plants. A benefit not to be denied.
If you have good intentions of allowing a skunk to eat from your pet dish because you don't mind, it looks thin, or want to help it through the winter, you are not doing that skunk any favors! What often happens is that this skunk then learns that people are not a threat, that pets are not a threat, that pet dishes are a reliable source of food. Then when they wander over to the neighbors house, who is not as nice and considerate as you are, the animal is trapped and killed or simply shot on sight because it seemed friendly eating from the pet dish therefore it must have had rabies. Or for no reason other than being a skunk.
What does not work is leaving your yard lights on, as many wildlife sources suggest. Nocturnal animals, such as skunks and armadillos, do not care about your porch light. In fact, they like the lights ON! The lights attract lots of yummy bugs for an easy meal. On the bright side, they are eating all of the insects that are destroying your garden and landscape plants.
Taking some preventive measures to avoid encounters with your visiting skunk will go a long way in co-habitation. Skunks come out to forage about dusk or shortly thereafter, also before dawn. If you have house dogs that you worry about getting sprayed make efforts to take them out before if gets dark, then keep them in until wildlife have come and gone. If you do happen to encounter a skunk while outside do not panic. Skunks are very near sighted, chances are he does not even see you. If he does see you he will indicate so by raising its tail and stomping its front feet. Remain calm and simply move away slowly. Skunks give many warnings before spraying in most cases, unless they are immediately threatened by dogs. See my page on skunk behaviors for more info. If you see a skunk during the day this DOES NOT mean it is rabid! It is most likely a mother with babies to feed. If rabies is your concern, then take notice of the animals appearance, activity and attitude. See my page on rabies for more info.
It is probably safe to say that the majority of the public does not like skunks, in fact, hates them. I believe this is based mostly on the smell of the animal, and myths wrongly passed down from generation to generation. Educate yourself on what is true before killing that skunk on your porch that you invited with your dog food. Skunks do not smell until your dog charges them, or you shoot them or run over them with your car. I find it ironic that people don't like skunks for the way they smell so they shoot the animal which results in stinking up your whole house, yard & pets for several days! When all you have to do is stop feeding the animal and it will wander off on its own. Skunks are not aggressive and will not attack without provocation, unless they are ill with rabies. Skunks are defenders, they will run away given every opportunity to do so. They can get along with most animals who are not out to harm them. It is not unusual to see a skunk eating alongside cats or horses. These animals are not a threat to a skunk and typically do not mind a skunks' presence.
Whether you like skunks or not, even after learning the truth about them if you bother to do so, it is not necessary to kill every skunk you see. What is the point of being so cruel and heartless as to kill an innocent animal that means you no harm, and in most cases was only nearby because of something you have done to invite it. There is enough cruelty in this world, why be a part of it?