Skunks under your deck or porch may make your outdoor relaxation time anything but a breath of fresh air. Get rid of the skunks by first making the area less attractive to them and then sealing off entry points once you are certain the skunks are not present.
Understanding Why Skunks Live in Your Yard
Skunks may have chosen the space under your deck or porch as their home because they prefer a relatively safe, hidden and quiet environment to live in -- especially when raising their young. Although skunks live solitary lives when not raising young, they still require shelter when they're not foraging for food; otherwise, they may become food for predators such as owls. They also may spend time in your yard if they've found nearby food, such as grubs, insects or fruits in your garden.
Annoying the Skunks
Skunks are nocturnal and usually avoid bright lights and continual noises.
- Make the area under your deck or porch less friendly to skunks by aiming a radio -- or a speaker connected to an audio source -- at that space. Play sound that features a lot of talking, such as a talk-radio station, beginning at dusk.
- Aim a bright light, such as a motion-sensing light, into the area the skunks use the most under the deck or porch. Keep the light on beginning about dusk.
Finding Entry Points
If the area under your deck or porch is for the most part sealed, then look for entry points the skunks used to get into that space. Examples include a gap behind boards or latticework and a hole dug in the soil. Sprinkle flour on the ground just inside and outside potential entry points, and check the flour for several days. If skunks use the area, you'll see their footprints in the flour within a few days.
Seal Wide-Open Access
If the area beneath your deck or porch is completely open and accessible to animals, then sealing it off is the only way to keep skunks and other creatures out of it. Add fencing, brickwork or your desired enclosure method when you know no skunks are in the area. Extending fencing at least 12 inches below the ground surface and angling its buried portion slightly outward -- pointing away from the deck's or porch's underside -- helps prevent skunks from burrowing under the fence.
Closing the Den
After you've safely annoyed the skunks so much that you are sure they've left the area under the deck or porch, then close off that area by nailing shut loose boards or adding welded-wire fencing so they can't get back in the space. If you aren't completely sure the skunks have left the space, add a one-way door that allows the skunks to get out but not back in, or temporarily close off the entry holes with wads of paper. If the paper remains undisturbed for several days, the skunks have left.
Don't Disturb the Babies
Skunk babies may stay in their den for more than six weeks. If baby skunks are living under your deck or porch, you may have to wait until they're old enough to venture out with a parent until you can safely seal off access to the area.
Removing Food Sources
After you've sealed off the abandoned skunk den, remove as many potential skunk food sources as possible, such as dishes of pet food and open trashcans. Seal trashcan lids and containers housing birdseed and pet food. Pick up fallen fruits, including berries, that grow on your property, or enclose the garden area with a tall fence; skunks are not good climbers. Keep using motion-sensing lights at night for a while to help prevent the skunks from hanging out in your yard at all.