How to Humanely Trap and Release a Skunk

Reader Contribution by Elizabeth Gatto
article image


Skunks are quite intelligent and resourceful creatures that can invade even the most sophisticated home, whether it is your garden, the attic, or under the crawl space of your house. When they come looking for food and shelter, you will need a suitable and humane method for removing them.

To be clear, using poisonous repellants or shooting them is illegal in most states. Live trapping skunks is one of the most effective ways to get rid of skunks from your home or property. It is likely you will hear and smell them if they are staying on your property, so locating them and knowing where to put your trap should be easy.

Here are some important pieces of information that you will need to trap a skunk. If you are uncertain, please hire a skunk trapper to come to your house and collect the skunk and then release it back into the wild.

Steps for Humanely Trapping a Skunk

Get the right trap. Choosing the right trap ensures that you get it right from the very beginning. Not all the traps flooding the market are meant for skunks. To be clear, never use a lethal trap, so make sure you choose carefully. You do not want to trap rats in the place of skunks; neither do you want a trap that won’t catch the skunks when they get around it. Ensure that your pick is ideal for trapping skunks and it’s large enough to contain a skunk comfortably. Ensure that the trap is also strong enough, knowing that skunks are flexible and very strong animals that can easily leap away with a light, feeble trap. With the right trap at hand, you are going to catch a skunk and you won’t have difficulty setting it up.

Get it right on the bait. Skunks are very intelligent creatures capable of evading even the most sophisticated traps if you are not very careful. So why do you need to get it right with baiting? You have to make sure that the skunks are attracted into the trap. Second, you need to ensure that you are not luring other animals into the trap. Skunks are easily attracted to cat food, but this may also mean cats can get trapped. How would you feel if you found the neighbor’s cat in your trap? While wet cat food has been suggested as one of the best baits you could use, just be careful! We recommend marshmallows, because skunks love them as a delicacy but few other animals will be attracted enough to get caught in the trap.

Ensure all routes are sealed but one. It is possible for the skunk to come to the realization that someone is trying to trap it, so it will avoid the cage like a plague. If skunks are aware that it is there to capture them, they will surely look for an alternative route to their treat. So, what happens if you have multiple routes of exit? You have to start by sealing all alternative routes leading to the den, and only leave one way in and out that they must use. Once the skunks have no other way to exit, the will have to opt for the single way out into your trap.

Remember to check the trap every morning and evening! You do not want the animal to suffer in any way, so once it is trapped, you want to relocate it and release it as soon as possible.

Handle the cage gently and professionally. You need to take more precaution than just walking straight to it, lest you are bombarded with their biological weapon. You should wear protective gear from your chest down to your feet so if you get sprayed, you can throw away the gear. A good idea is to cover the trap with a large blanket so if they do spray, it stays contained. If possible, we recommend placing the blanket ahead of time, so the trap is already dark when you arrive of the scene. This way you can pick up the trap with the skunk inside without scaring it.

Relocate the animal to a natural environment, such as a field or woods at least 10 miles away from your house. Skunks can easily trace their way back to their own den, so be mindful of where you release them. The woods are ideal, because they will be able to easily find a replacement den and will not attempt to trace back to your location.

Good luck and be nice to skunks!

Elizabeth Gattois a lover of wildlife and promoter of wildlife conservation. She promotes humane nuisance wildlife removal so people know it is possible to respect nature as well as maintain safety in your home. Find her online atSkunk Pest Control.

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.