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Skunks in crawl space!

Dryndusty's picture

I have a set of skunks living in the crawl space of my rental property. The animal control officer from the county has set several live catch traps, since skunks are a common carrier of rabies here in sunny Arizona. No skunks after several weeks with the traps, but have caught and releases several feral cats.

Anybody got any suggestions, short of going in and grabbing them by the short hairs and hauling them out? One neighbor has suggested flooding the space with car exhaust, but that might be as bad as skunk smell, of which there is plenty.

(post #84844, reply #1 of 44)

What ever you do, do NOT try to scare them out!


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(post #84844, reply #2 of 44)

Are you sure you've got a complete set ?

Buy a case of mothballs. Toss them all over in the crawl space.

Since it's a crawlspace, you need a LOT of them.

If you want to be able to drag them back out later, put a box each, into some sort of net bags, tie string to them, and toss them in as evenly as possible.


It's a small world. Until you have to walk home...

(post #84844, reply #3 of 44)

Had a guy trap them at a friends house. He said they like bananas. The skunk was just sitting in the cage munching away.


(post #84844, reply #4 of 44)

dont forget to fix any point of entry after youve cought them

(post #84844, reply #5 of 44)

Sphere has a dog that will get rid of them.

(post #84844, reply #6 of 44)

I heard that unless they lift their tail they can't spray. So if you grab them by the tail they can't spray. This came from someone who did it. Crazy farmers. I guess they are bored or have had their smeller burnt out on the farm.

______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ There are three kinds of men: The one that learns by reading, the few who learn by observation and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves. Will Rogers

(post #84844, reply #10 of 44)

And I heard that if you hold their nose, they don't smell.

Click here to get to:

Edited 12/8/2008 12:54 am by Luka


It's a small world. Until you have to walk home...

(post #84844, reply #7 of 44)

Figure out how they get in/out.   Board up every way except one.  On that one,  build a one way door,   that which they can leave but cannot get back in again.

I did that once with a racoon at my parents house.  Used 1/4" wire mesh.  Attached around access so the 'coon could leave,  but could not get back in.  One way door.


Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?


Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

(post #84844, reply #8 of 44)

First they really do not want to spray. They do it defensively and I've messed with some in the past and it really takes a bit to get them to spray.

In my experience with have a heart traps, the only adult animals stupid enough to go in there are cats. Although I did catch an adult possum once. I have caught over a dozen baby skunks, woodchucks, etc. The baby skunks are very friendly and very calm. They have the same look as a puppy dog with their eyes.

In your situation, the skunks are not living in there forever. I am not familiar with skunk den's, do some google searches and find out if they have a den or tunnels with multiple accesses. If they have a den, then find out how they are getting in and make a one way door so they can only go out and cannot get back in. They'll simply move somewhere else and you'll never even meet them.

If they have multiple accesses, I would think putting some light under there would work well. Skunks are nocturnal and will not like the lights. If they don't like the environment, they really move on very quickly. Also, you might have some luck with something like a predators #### from a hunting supply shop. Put that on some tennis balls or something else and fire them in there. The scent will make them scared and they'll move on.

(post #84844, reply #9 of 44)

Rent one of these -

American Badger

Seriously - Luka has the right idea - mothballs in bags.



(post #84844, reply #11 of 44)

They have a particular liking for tuna fish (but so do the cats) - as was stated earlier seal up everything but one entrance and make a one way door. They do make commercial units for this purpose but for the life of me I cant remember the manuf. name at the moment. Ask the animal control officer he might know. I have never had trouble catching skunks in a hav-a-heart - caught probably a hundred that way...

(post #84844, reply #12 of 44)

Just about anything a skunk will eat, a cat will eat as well. The best bet is to use a Havahart trap and just release the cats, they will get the hint eventually and stay clear. Also, if using a havahart, cover it with a blanket after setting it, once the skunk is inside, carry the trap with the blanket still covering the animal, it keeps them calmer and less likely to spray. I am a trapper, and have had lots of experience with skunk essence....

(post #84844, reply #13 of 44)

good suggestions, but i'd take the cats to the local animal shelter, which will euthanize them.   feral cats are a big damn nuisance.  

(post #84844, reply #15 of 44)

I like cats, but feral ones make great coyote bait..;-) and those ones get spiritually released....

(post #84844, reply #16 of 44)

243 or 270?

(post #84844, reply #17 of 44)

besides being a nuisance they do a lot of damage to the environment. In my area we'll have animal loving nuts feed the feral cats which only increases the problem. They love animals but never think that feral cats kill all kinds of birds. We used to have lots of pheasant but now you never see them.

I remember Australia had a major problem with wild cats and driving some species to near extinction.

(post #84844, reply #18 of 44)

I really don't want this thread to drift off into a discussion of feral cats. Those are a different problem, with a different solution. However ...

Are we sure there are skunks? A cat marking it's territory (spraying) smells a lot like skunk .... especially if there are several males contesting the area.

IF you have feral cats, the solution is to trap-neuter-release-tend. Those with questions, PM me. I have some experience with this.

Other pests, the key is to not feed them. Ever. No more leaving out a dish of food for the dog. Close off areas where you don't want them to nest; this works best if there are better nesting sites available.

A second approach is to render the nesting side undesirable ... too much moisture, noise, etc. Not as effective as closing it off in the first place.

(post #84844, reply #19 of 44)

Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions, especially the one about holding the skunks noses so they don't smell! Some others were very helpful, though. I'm going to have trouble making the crawl space inaccessible, though as it's under a manufactured home, so it has skirting. I'll have to use chicken wire all around the house, I guess.

It was interesting to hear from the Animal Control Officer that releasing the feral cats was a felony! He hadn't mentioned that before.

A neighbor suggested running a hose from the car's exhaust into the crawlspace, but I'm leary of that. It seems bound to leave residual odors, if not carbon monoxide. Anyone tried that?

My wife called a pest control service and they don't do skunks. They also suggested mothballs.
Thanks again to all who have replied.

(post #84844, reply #20 of 44)

Why not run hardware cloth around the perimiter of the crawlspace behind the skirting so it is out of sight?

(post #84844, reply #21 of 44)

Run chicken wire or something similar and bury it down into the ground a foot, then attach up above and put the skirting up and you'll never see it. It's important to bury it, skunks and most animals dig very well.

(post #84844, reply #22 of 44)

chicken wire may not be small enough to keep a skunk out. if there head can fit through so can the rest of their body. have used peanut butter as bait and caught a large skunk in a liye trap. he was large enough he couldn't spray inside the trap.

(post #84844, reply #23 of 44)

Sounds like all good suggestions. I put two pans, each with a pound of mothballs, into the crawlspace. I put some flour around the two exits, to show if anyone is leaving. If there are tracks leaving the premises, I'll seal the entrances with a flap and put 36 inch hardware cloth around the house, under the skirting, to prevent them from coming back. I'm going to just lay it on the ground, out about 18 inches, with the rest under the house. How's that sound? Thanks for all the good suggestions.

(post #84844, reply #24 of 44)

I know around here,  you cannot release skunks/possums/racoons elsewhere from where they were caught.  Against laws (maybe federal???).  This comes from a game warden (also trapping instructor).   You can spread diseases like rabbies by moving animals.

You can release them where they are caught.  or you can legally "whack em out",  either by drowning or bonking them on the head til dead.



Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?


Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

(post #84844, reply #25 of 44)

I was informed by the Animal Control Officer after I had released two feral cats that if was a felony to open the live traps. He said he would release skunks elsewhere, but he took the feral cat away. Thanks for the reply.

(post #84844, reply #26 of 44)

i had this same problem under a mobile home.

first i looked pretty hard for where i thought the were going in and out.

i baited 3 traps all within 10' of where they were going in at.

now let me see if i can explain this. i tied a rope to the trap and angled it up to a tree limb.looped it over a branch of the tree,straight under the branch was a 30 gal trash can full of water.

baited one with apples,one cat food ,and the other scraps from skunk gets into trap. you have the rope tied a safe distance away and pull the trap up in the swings over above the water,sploosh you drop him. let him soak for a couple hours.pull it and throw the 15.00 trap and skunk away.

caught mine first night,plus 1 cat and one opossum.i didn't make them go swimming.

then seal up the entry and so far a year later i'm good

if a man speaks in the forest,and there's not a woman to hear him,is he still wrong?

the older i get ,

the more people tick me off

(post #84844, reply #27 of 44)

Allways, that sounds like a good way to do it. I have a feeling the skunks are hibernating already. The amount of odor is way down. I may yet crawl under there and pinch the nose of the skunk so he doesn't smell as was suggested earlier.
Thanks Norm

(post #84844, reply #28 of 44)

seems to me early spring is when the have little ones,don't let that

if a man speaks in the forest,and there's not a woman to hear him,is he still wrong?

the older i get ,

the more people tick me off

(post #84844, reply #33 of 44)

Read The Wizard of Loneliness (or get the movie), then put in a call to John T... get some fun outa them skunks.

Now you see this one-eyed midget
Shouting the word "NOW"
And you say, "For what reason?"
And he says, "How?"
And you say, "What does this mean?"
And he screams back, "You're a cow
Give me some milk
Or else go home"

The Village Woodworks, Inc

Chapel Hill, NC


We'll have a kid Or maybe we'll rent one He's got to be straight We don't want a bent one He'll drink his baby brew From a big brass cup Someday he may be president If things loosen up

(post #84844, reply #37 of 44)

A guy I know got the trap from animal control,  Caught the skunk, called animal control. they didn't want the skunk, said you caught it's yours...They said the skunk wont spray when they are in the trap.  he threw a blanket ofer the trap, used a shop vac hose hoked up to his wife's new honda.   the exhaust was so clean it didn't even make the skunk dizzy.  he had to get his old dodge van the Carbon monoxide finally did the skunk in.

(post #84844, reply #38 of 44)

I like that.

With the exhaust, the skunk gets burning, runny eyes and nose, coughs a bit, and goes to sleep.

Drowning is a nasty way to die.


It's a small world. Until you have to walk home...