Do you think you might have a skunk burrow in your yard, under your porch, or shed?
That is the kind of unwanted guest nobody wants on their property!
Skunks are not usually aggressive or dangerous, but if you cross paths at the wrong time, they sure can be stinky.
A skunk might not spray you, but you might still end up wondering what to do when your dog gets sprayed.
In this post, we discuss how to identify a skunk nest and what you can do to remove a skunk from your yard.
Skunks are native to the Chicagoland area and to much of North America. Many estimates say that there are more skunks in the Chicago area than ever before because of a series of mild winters and early springs.
Stripes skunks originally were most often found in rural, wooded areas, but skunks are fairly tolerant of humans and can be found in suburban and urban areas.
They will live anywhere there is a shelter with access to food and water. Skunks rarely travel farther than 1-2 miles from their den, so they will be found nesting near food and water sources.
Where do skunks nest?
Skunks will often move into the abandoned den of another animal such as into a hole dug by a woodchuck or fox. If an existing burrow or shelter is not available, skunks are capable of digging their own.
They will also build a nest in hollow logs, under brushes, woodpiles, culverts, and even open prairies and lands.
Skunks will also move into human areas, especially under porches and sheds, but also garages or abandoned buildings.
Related: What animal is digging in my garden?
The entrance to a skunk burrow will usually be around eight inches in diameter. Usually, there will be more than one entrance, sometimes as many as four or five.
The burrow will often have more than one chamber, sometimes up to three or four. Skunks will use grass and leaves to line the den.
Sometimes the skunk burrow is identifiable because of that unmistakable skunk odor. However, that is not always the case, which can sometimes make finding the den a challenge.
Related: Skunk Spray FAQ
How to locate the skunk nest
First of all, use caution when seeking out the skunk nest! You don’t want to startle the skunk at close range and find yourself the victim of its foul spray. A skunk can hit a target up to ten feet away.
Skunks are most active at dusk, so the best time to do your search is during the afternoon when it is likely to be asleep.
Sometimes the hole may be visible and identifiable by its smell. If you cannot find the burrow by following the skunk smell to its nest, you will have to use another way to search it out.
One trick that people use is to leave out a food source as bait, for example, peanut butter because of it’s strong smell, and then surround the bait with flour all around it. If the skunk comes for the food, you may be able to follow the tracks back to it’s home.
To confirm the den is occupied, you can lay or lightly tape a sheet of newspaper over the hole during daylight hours. If you come back the next day, you should be able to tell if the newspaper was disturbed by the skunk exiting the burrow.
Once you have confirmed the skunk residence, you can then plan how to have it removed.
Related: Protecting your yard from skunks
Keep in mind that skunks are a protected species in Illinois. They may only be removed with a permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. It is not legal to poison skunks.
If you want to attempt to drive skunks away on your own, try to make their living environment unpleasant. Skunks do not like loud sounds, bright lights or strong smells. Use these to your advantage.
Shine a bright light onto their den area. Find an old radio and set it to a talk radio station and place it by their entrance playing loud enough for them to hear it all day. Soak a rag in ammonia and place it near their nest entrance to irritate them with the odor. Ironically, skunks are irritated by strong odors.
After removal, take steps to deter skunks in the future: remove food and water sources, mow overgrown grass and brush, and remove wood piles that could be attractive dens. Fence or screen areas under porches, decks, and sheds.
Make sure after the skunks have left to fill in the den with rocks and soil. As we said earlier, skunks are fond of premade burrows, and if one skunk found it attractive, it’s very likely another one will.
Professional skunk removal
For professional skunk removal services in the Chicago suburban area, contact Attic Solutions for humane removal of skunks and other pests.
Contact us online or call 847-464-1861