5 Things in Your Yard That Are Attracting Skunks to Your Home
Experts say you could be inviting this smelly creature to your home.
A skunk's smell is said to be so overpowering and long-lasting that some people will jump in a tomato juice bath to try to get rid of it. But while no one wants to be sprayed by this creature, that might be the least of your worries when it comes to this dreaded pest. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skunks are a common carrier of rabies, with infected skunks being found recently in parts of California, the Midwest, Texas, Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. And you might be inviting this creature to your home without even realizing. Read on to find out which five things in your yard are likely to attract skunks.
Skunks love a good place to hide. So any type of debris in your yard and around your home is likely to give them a perfect opportunity to do so, according to Shane McCoy, a board-certified entomologist and founder of Aspect Pest Control. "Clear away debris from around your house such as wood piles, rock or bricks, old tires, or even kayaks, canoes, or children's play toys," he advises.
McCoy says that unkempt landscape can also be a good hiding spot for skunks, so you should make sure your bushes and shrubs are neatly trimmed, as well as throw away their trimmings to prevent debris. A few signs that indicate this pest has been hiding in your outside greenery include "small, shallow holes in the yard" and "planters knocked over," according to McCoy.
A huge source of attraction for skunks is the smell of food, warns Robert Banks, founder of MrStocks. But even if you're not tossing food out in your yard, this problem can still affect your household. Banks says homeowners don't often realize that the treats that they give their pets can easily become a source of lingering food smells if eaten outside.
"Crumbs that fall apart will attract skunks as they will be able to smell that food and go to where it is," he explains. "It can be avoided if we make our pets eat their treats inside or clean the place where they eat the treats outside."
If skunks are willing to snack on the crumbs of pet treats, they're definitely willing to go after bird seeds. Don Adams, a house foundation expert and the general manager for Regional Foundation Repair, says that you should hang bird feeders away from your home. "The seeds that fall from the feeders attract skunks. Hanging the feeders away from your home will keep them away," he explains.
This might only get skunks away from your house and not out of your yard altogether, however. In order to prevent skunks from coming to your yard at all, the Bird Feeder Hub recommends that you bring your feeders indoors at night when creatures like this are active. "Skunks are nocturnal and forage mostly at night," McCoy confirms.
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Skunks will even go after the odors coming from your outside garbage, McCoy warns. Adams adds that with food being more scarce in the winter, pests like skunks are even more attracted to your trash bins in search of food. "Scraps, leftovers, seeds even, they're happy to eat it," Adams explains.
You might not be able to remove your garbage cans from around your home, but there are ways you can make them less of an invitation for skunks. "Adequately close your garbage cans and store them away from your home," Adams recommends. "Storing them by the fence, for example, works in preventing skunks from entering your home through an open door."
Small openings around your house
All of these things in your yard can draw in skunks, but the real trouble comes from having any openings or gaps around your house. According to McCoy, small openings under porches, decks, steps, and crawl spaces will likely make this creature stick around your space even longer.
"These create a den for skunks to seek shelter from enemies and a nesting site for females to have babies," he explains.
Adams adds that these spaces are "also a source of heat for them and the proximity to your home garbage cans is a bonus." He recommends that you seal any gaps under your house. If you're not looking for a permanent fix immediately, Adams says you can temporarily achieve this by nailing plywood boards to the wooden wall paneling on the exterior of your house.