How much does it cost to remove a skunk?
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Skunk Removal Cost Guide
Updated: Jan 01, 1970
Skunks are often unwanted pests in your home, under your house, and in your yard. While they tend not to be aggressive, they still contract and pass rabies to humans and animals. They also transmit many other diseases. Skunk removal can be difficult because they are good at hiding and are nocturnal by nature.
The national average to have a skunk removed is $400 to $500. The average homeowner pays $450 to remove one skunk in a difficult to access area, such as under a porch. Removal costs can be as low as $300 if you have one skunk in an area that is easy to access. If you have multiple skunks residing in a large den or hiding in an obscure location, you may pay as high as $600.
Pest Control Skunks Removal
|Skunk Removal Cost|
|National average cost||$450|
Skunk Removal Cost
When you pay for professional skunk removal, your pest control expert inspects your home or yard for the presence of a den, nest, or the skunk itself. Then, they set traps by the areas where they suspect the skunk is living. If a skunk infestation is suspected, they may set multiple traps around the home.
The time it takes for the entire process depends on how long it takes them to locate the skunk and set the trap in that area. The entire process runs between $300 and $600 and includes inspection through skunk relocation. For baby skunk removal, the cost would be the same. Expect to pay more if multiple babies are found in the space.
Skunk Live Traps
When you contact a pest control specialist or skunk trapping service to remove a skunk from your home, they use skunk bait for a live trap. When they arrive at your home, they inspect the area where the skunk is suspected to be inhabiting. Once they have confirmed the skunk’s location, they set one or more live traps with bait around the possible exits out of its hiding space. After the skunk is trapped, they remove the skunk from the live trap and relocate it. The skunk trapping and removal process will not create a mess, nor will it harm the skunk. This process effectively removes the skunk from the premises.
Skunk Pest Control by Location
Skunks hide in or around your home in almost any place. You may also spot them in your yard. While pest control specialists charge more if the skunk is in a hard-to-reach area, their rate is determined after a complete inspection. Even though skunks hide almost anywhere, they have some popular places where they like to make their nests.
Skunk in Basement
Skunks like to inhabit basements if they get inside your home. They enjoy dark spaces and like to make their nests away from areas with higher activity levels. Skunks hide in basements that are not finished. They prefer places where people in the house may not move around much throughout the day. Basements supply skunks with an abundance of insects.
Skunk in Crawl Space
Another popular place for skunks to hide in the home is in crawl spaces. These areas are great spots for them to build comfortable nests without the risk of being disturbed by humans or other animals. A crawl space is a popular place for them to burrow into the ground and create multi-chamber dens. Depending on how far into the crawl space they are, removal may be more difficult.
Skunk in Attic
Attics are a quiet space in the home that attract many animals and pests, including skunks. Attics tend to be dark and provide places for skunks to hide without being noticed. Skunks enjoy feeding on insects, which can be plentiful in most attic spaces.
Skunk in Garage
Skunks wander inside open garages in search of warmth or food from nearby trash cans. They may become trapped in there without you noticing them. Skunks won’t typically nest in garages due to the constant motion; however, they may hide there if they find a consistent food source, such as trash or insects.
Skunk in Backyard
Finding a skunk in the yard garden can be common when hunting for food. Grubs are a favorite of skunks. They will dig in your lawn or garden to pull them from the ground. Skunks may also be attracted to your yard if you keep your unsecured garbage outside or have an abundance of insects.
Skunk in Chicken Coop
Skunks love eggs and even baby chickens, which are both preferred meals for them. Your chicken coop makes a prime spot for a skunk to get its next meal. They are attracted to the smell that a dirty chicken coop gives off. Regular cleaning acts as a deterrent.
Skunk From Under House
Skunks hide away from humans and other predators, so finding them under the house is quite common. It is also a popular spot for them to create dens and nests, sometimes to the detriment of your home's structure. Skunks are not always easy to spot under the house. You will see depressions around the area if they have begun burrowing.
Skunk Under Deck
Finding a skunk living under a deck is not that surprising. Like crawl spaces, they provide a sheltered place to create their dens and protect their nests. Getting rid of skunks under a deck can be difficult if they are farther back and have begun to burrow. Sometimes removal requires blocking off areas to direct the skunks to the traps.
Skunk Under Porch
A skunk living under a porch could damage the porch if the dens' chambers extended around the supports. Porches provide soft earth underneath for skunks to build their dens and allow for easy access to the yard to collect what they need to build their nests. The ground beneath a porch is a good spot for skunks to find grubs.
Signs of Skunks
Some telltale signs indicate that a skunk is lurking near your home. One of the most noticeable signs is the smell from their spray. The odor lingers around the home if they have recently encountered a predator. If you have skunks in your home, you may find their unique paw prints and droppings. Their droppings are the same size as a domestic cat’s feces. However, they often contain undigested food, seeds, feathers, or insect parts.
Skunks burrow under your house to create their nests. This can lead to structural damage to your home. Some of the signs of skunks under your house include holes around your foundation or chew marks along the siding and wood on the home’s exterior. You may notice depressions under the ground around your home, which could be chambers of their den.
Skunks may make their nests in your yard. When this occurs, you will find holes in your lawn. Skunks make holes to burrow or retrieve grubs to eat. If your trash is not properly contained, you may notice that the skunks have rifled through it. Skunks are nocturnal creatures, but you may see them during the day. A daytime sighting is often your first visual confirmation of skunks in your area.
Are Skunks Dangerous?
Skunks are not considered directly dangerous to humans. Skunks tend to frighten easily. When frightened, they emit an oily substance from under their tails, leaving a scent on humans or other animals that can last for days. While the spray is not at all harmful, it can be uncomfortable. They do not often spray unless they feel threatened, making domestic dogs a more popular target than humans.
In some instances, skunks can bite, especially if your dog goes after them. While the bite itself is not problematic, the diseases that the bite transmits can lead to complications. If a skunk bites a human, they can pass the disease directly to them. Most often, the disease is transferred to dogs, who then transmit it to their owners.
The most dangerous conditions passed by a skunk include rabies and Tularemia, causing fever, a loss of appetite, and even sepsis. Canine distemper is commonly passed to domesticated dogs from contact with a skunk. Your pets may become infected by diseases that the skunks carry through contact with their feces or urine. A possible condition contracted in this way is Leptospirosis, causing headaches, muscle pain, liver damage, and even kidney failure. Skunks carry parasites, such as roundworm and ringworm, which can be transmitted to your pets.
All About Skunks
Skunks are also referred to as polecats. This mammal is commonly found in both North and South America. Their origins can be traced back more than 11 million years. They belong to the family Mephitidae which includes other animals known to use anal scent glands to deter predators. They are primarily nocturnal and are known to inhabit many habitats, such as deserts, forests, and mountains. They are most well known for their distinctive look, and the noxious odor released when they scare potential threats.
The full skunk life cycle only lasts about three years when they are living in the wild. They mate in late winter and have offspring just two months later in the spring. By late July, the skunk's offspring will be ready to go out in the wild, finally leaving the nest's security. Since skunks can damage your home and yard while preparing for the coming of their offspring, it is best to have them removed before mating season.
What Do Skunks Look Like?
Skunk identification is easy as skunks have a very distinctive appearance. They will range in size from 15.6” to 37” and weigh up to 18 pounds. Their bodies are elongated. They have strong leg muscles and sharp front claws that assist them with digging for food and shelter. Their paws have five toes, making their prints easy to identify. Skunks’ fur is dark brown or black with distinctive white striping along their back and head.
When people think of skunks, they most often think of their distinctive spray. While it is one thing that people most fear about skunks, the truth is that a skunk does not want to spray you. It is one of their strongest defense mechanisms and takes their body a week to rebuild. Before they spray, a skunk provides ample warning, such as puffing up their fur, hissing, and stomping. But when they spray, they think they are in danger. Their spray travels for up to 15 feet and leads to eye irritation, causing no permanent damage. Depending on how much spray is released, the odor could last for several days.
A skunk’s spray is made up of a chemical called N-butyl mercaptan, a combination of sulfur-based compounds. The spray is stored in glands that rest alongside the skunk’s anus, requiring them to lift their tail to spray.
What Attracts Skunks?
Skunks are attracted to the main things they need for their survival, including food, water, and shelter, which will make them drawn to areas where all three are readily available. They prefer to make their nests in areas that are warm and dark. They will often take over other animal’s burrows or create their own if none can be found. Skunks are attracted to homes because so many of these resources are found in residential areas. What attracts skunks to your yard could be the presence of insects to feed on, safe concealed areas to nest, and accessible outdoor trash.
What Do Skunks Eat?
Skunks eat various things that can be found outdoors or inside a home, even if they can't fully digest them. Some of the most popular food items skunks will make part of their diet include fruit that has fallen to the ground, corn, berries, insects, birdseed, ground worms, and grubs. They will be attracted to cat and dog food if left outside. Skunks have a taste for eggs and young chickens, which can attract them to outdoor coups.
Where Do Skunks Nest?
What does a skunk den look like, you may be wondering. Skunks make their nests in dens, which are areas dug by their sharp claws, or already constructed dens that have been abandoned by other animals such as foxes. These dens will typically have multiple entrances and chambers and are created as safe places for skunks to build their nests. The nest will be lined with leaves, grass, hay, and other materials. While most skunk dens are dug underground, it is not the only place that they will build their nests. Skunks may also build nests in other protected areas such as hollowed-out logs, under brush, in woodpiles, under house porches, in sheds, abandoned buildings, garages, and even in basements.
While skunks don’t always pose a health threat, they can damage both your home and your yard. One of the most common ways that a skunk damages a home is by creating their burrows. Burrowing is a habit of skunks to create a safe nest for their offspring. It usually involves digging and chewing through areas to create the necessary space. You may find holes in the siding or wood areas of your home where a skunk has chewed. Even worse, a skunk may create a burrow under your foundation, leading to structural damage.
Skunk yard damage may also be another way to alert you to the presence of skunks in your home. Skunks may create their burrows in and under your home and in your yard. This can lead to skunk lawn damage, such as deep holes and areas where the lawn may become uneven. You may see skunk grass damage as the skunks seek out the grubs hiding in the dirt for their food source, which means they may be digging in your grass or garden area.
Dead Skunk Removal
If you suspect you have a dead skunk in your home, either by visual confirmation, or the smell of decay, it is important to have it removed as soon as possible to prevent worse smells and possible damage to your home. You never want to remove a dead skunk yourself but instead rely on a professional to ensure its proper removal. Dead skunks can be health hazards. A professional knows how to safely contain and remove it, making sure that the area is properly cleaned of all biohazards. The process can be extremely messy, especially if it took some time for the skunk to be located. If you are unsure where the dead skunk is, a professional will help you identify its location so that it can be removed. On average, you can expect to pay between $150 and $250 to remove a dead skunk. The cost of removing a dead skunk is significantly less than a live one, as it will not include trapping or relocation process.
Emergency Skunk Removal
In some situations, the removal of a skunk on your property may become an emergency. If you suspect a skunk is rabid or trapped and on the defensive, it may be best to have it removed sooner rather than later. Many pest control specialists may come out right away if this occurs during regular business hours for no extra charge. If you request an after-hours service, you can expect to pay an additional premium. An additional charge of $75 to $100 could be added to the removal cost in most cases.
How to Keep Skunks Away
Knowing how to prevent skunks from coming around can help you better protect your pets from the diseases they carry and save you the cost of having them removed. One of the best ways to prevent skunks in the yard and home is by removing the things that attract them. Eliminate possible food sources by ensuring that outdoor garbage is secured, pet food is kept inside, and the ground is free of birdseed and fruit. You can also keep your yard sprayed for bugs, so you do not have an abundance of insects to eat.
Another way to deter skunks from coming into the yard is by finding ways to drive them off. One way is through motion-sensor lights. Skunks are nocturnal animals. Sudden bright light quickly startles them. Certain smells drive a skunk away, such as the smell of predator urine, ammonia, citrus, and mothballs. Sometimes putting ammonia-soaked cotton balls by areas they frequent may be enough to drive them away.
You can help keep skunks out of your yard and home by blocking their entrance. Patch any cracks in your exterior walls or foundation and block off access underneath porches and decks with fencing. You may consider fencing in your yard or around garden areas. You can construct a skunk exclusion barrier, which involves digging a trench around a structure and covering it with mesh. Closing other open areas with wood, metal, or wire mesh prevents skunks from entering common areas. If you notice burrowing or dens in your yard, make sure to close them up so that the skunks cannot return to them.
You may be wondering how to prevent skunks from digging up the lawn. The best way to accomplish this goal is by eliminating their primary food located just below the ground’s surface. Keep your lawn well-maintained and use grub control. Without grubs or insects to feed on, they are less likely to dig in the lawn.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- DIY: Skunk removal is a project that is not recommended to perform yourself. However, you can try to get them to vacate on their own using an exclusion barrier. Skunks do not normally confront humans. They are more likely to bite or spray if they are trapped. A professional pest control specialist will know better how to contain and trap them safely and effectively.
- Training and Licensing: When choosing a pest control specialist to remove a skunk, you want to make sure that they have any necessary training and the proper licensing. Wildlife removal can be complicated, and without the proper training, it can become dangerous to those in the household or the animal itself.
- Alternatives: While allowing the skunk to continue to live around your home would lead to major problems, if you wish to avoid skunk removal, you can try to encourage them to leave. This can mainly be done if they are areas like sheds or under a porch. You can use an exclusion barrier to direct them out of the area and then remove their nests once they are gone.
- Myths: Many myths associated with skunks have people more fearful of skunks than they should be. One common myth is that if they are seen during the day, they are likely rabid. Another myth is that rabies can be transmitted to animals and humans through the skunk spray. A last and common misconception about skunks is that they smell. They are very clean animals, which only emit odor as a defense mechanism.
- Will animal control remove a skunk?
Animal control specialists are not trained to remove skunks as most of their work extends to more domesticated animals such as cats and dogs. While they may provide help such as inspecting your home for signs of a skunk or recommend a trap, they rarely will attempt removal on their own.
- Who do you call to remove a skunk?
A professional wildlife control specialist can help you with the skunk removal process. They have the knowledge and equipment to remove many wildlife nuisance animals safely.
- What will keep skunks away?
Motion-sensor lights will often scare skunks away. Certain odors, such as predator urine, citrus, and mothballs, deter skunks. You can keep skunks away by reducing their available food sources and living areas. Keep outside trash sealed. Remove hollow logs from the yard. Fill in holes.
- How much does it cost to catch a skunk?
The cost to catch a skunk ranges between $400 and $500 for the entire removal process.
- How much does it cost to get rid of skunks?
To remove a skunk that has already died will cost between $150 and $250. To trap and relocate a live one would run between $400 and $500.
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- FIXR Cost Guides and Cost Database.
- HGTV. “Making a Stink: How To Keep Skunks Out of Your Garden."
- LiveScience. “Facts About Skunks."
- Mayo Clinic. “Tularemia.”
- Terminix. “How to Get Rid of Skunks: Removal Tips.”
- The National Wildlife Association. “Skunks: Notorious—or Not?"
- The Spruce. “How to Get Rid of Skunks.”
- The Spruce. “What Really Works to Get Rid of Skunk Odor."
- Wildlife Removal USA. “Skunk Diseases Transmitted to Humans or Dogs."
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.