Goodbye to Nasty Smelly Pests: How to Repel Skunks

Here’s something you might not know about skunks: their scientific name “mephitis mephitis” comes from the Roman goddess of poisonous vapors and literally means “bad odor bad odor,” as if to indicate “double trouble.” Plus, skunks can deliver the double-whammy of nasty smell combined with digging up your yard and garden. It’s a good thing there are skunk repellents that really work, such as Havahart® Critter Ridder®.

Hot Water Equals Desperate Measures and a Need to Repel Skunks

I grew up near a river. Our house was situated on top of the embankment so while flooding was never an issue, the wildlife was. One year we had a welcomed batch of duck eggs. I was very young at the time and my mom thought it would be a great teaching opportunity. The skunks thought otherwise. To her horror my mom walked out on our deck overlooking our backyard and saw the skunk halfway through the batch of eggs.

Startled by the skunk – it was during the day and completely unexpected – combined with her deep desire to protect the eggs, she tried hollering at the animal, shushing it feverishly. It continued its smorgasbord, completely unaffected by her tirade. In desperation, she ran into the house, filled a large pot with hot water, and then dumped it over the deck, near the skunk. The skunk scurried, but not before it had destroyed all the duck eggs.

While the hot water did the trick of getting the skunk moving, my mom really could have used some skunk repellent tips to keep it from coming in the first place.

Helpful Skunk Repellent Tips: What Repels Skunks the Best?

While skunk repellents can work quite well, some skunks just don’t know when to quit. When faced with a particularly persistent critter, take these additional skunk repelling steps:

1. Repelling skunks by getting rid of their food source.

Take pet food dishes inside, or only leave them outside when it’s time for your pet to eat. While skunks may not be able to “talk trash,” they sure love to eat it, so keep all outdoor trash cans secure.

2. Repelling skunks by removing their shelter.

Locate the skunk’s burrow and fill it with dirt at night while it’s out on the town. It might be a little miffed when it returns home to find your eviction notice, but it will quickly move on. Be careful if you use this method in the spring, as you need to make sure there aren’t any baby skunks living inside.

3. Skunk repellents.

Havahart®  skunk repellents work because they irritate the daylights out of the animal if they smell it, touch it or are adventurous enough to actually taste it. Available in both granular and liquid, you’ll have effective skunk repelling protection all year long (granular works even when the temperature is below freezing).

By being proactive and following these simple skunk repellent tips, you’ll no longer ask yourself how to repel skunks, as you’ll be too busy enjoying your beautiful and fruitful garden.

Image: vladeb

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Havahart® is a leading manufacturer of caring control products for pets and wildlife. By offering animal repellents and live animal traps, Havahart® covers a wide spectrum that truly is caring control for pets and wildlife.


  • Russ

    For the second year, wild ducks have laid eggs next to our house. I believe that skunks wiped out the first clutch and today I found one broken egg just outside the nesting area. How can I keep the skunks from raiding the nest without hurting the ducks?

    • 7:07 pm - March 9, 2012

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Russ!

      Sorry to hear about your skunk raiding problem! The best solution, because they are very determined, is to trap and release the skunks away from your house with one of our live traps:

      Our Critter Ridder® repellent works for skunks, but it’s not always 100% effective all the time with determined animals. Trapping remains your best option in this scenario!

      Please let us know if we can help in any other way!

      Thank you,


      • 1:10 pm - March 12, 2012

      • Reply
  • richard corey

    skunks have made my lawn look like it has been rototilled, any permant solutitions?

    • 9:14 am - August 20, 2012

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Richard,

      Sorry to hear your lawn is being destroyed! Skunks can be a great nuisance. We recommend trying a repellent to keep them from coming back. Either Critter Ridder®, an organic repellent, or Spray Away, a motion-detecting spray repellent will work for skunks. Take a look at this page on our website for all of our skunk repellent products:

      Please let us know if you have any questions on these repellents! We’re happy to help!

      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 9:26 am - August 20, 2012

      • Reply
  • Melanie

    We purchased the granular product a few days ago to help us repel a skunk that has been digging under our fence and rooting around in our back yard. Sadly, it did not repel. I found two areas the next morning where it dug under the fence. I spread the product around the perimeter of the fence before evening.

    If anyone knows of anything else I can use, I’d really appreciate it. I’ve smelled the skunk twice in the past week & a half and one evening I went out on my deck and spotted the skunk in my yard.

    • 10:47 pm - January 4, 2013

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Melanie,

      We are sorry to hear about your trouble with the skunks! Did you use Critter Ridder? Could you tell us a bit more about the application such as the time of day you applied the product, and what the weather was like at the time? Had it rained recently?

      While Critter Ridder® has been tested to effectively repel skunks, all animals are different (just like humans), and it can have different effects on each one. We’re happy to help!

      Thank you,

      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 8:25 am - January 7, 2013

      • Reply
  • Alan

    How can I keep a skunk from entering my garage if the door is left opened. I think one got in and sprayed,, being an attached garage the smell has made its way into the house. Any info would be helpful. Thanks Alan

    • 5:31 pm - February 18, 2013

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Alan,

      Sorry to hear about your skunk issue! We’d first recommend exclusion methods, including closing the garage door when possible. If it is not possible to exclude the skunk, we do provide an effective skunk repellent called Critter Ridder® which you could use at the perimeter of the garage opening. You can find it on our site or in hardware stores (

      As for the smell in the home, here is an article that should be helpful for that:


      Your Friends at Havahart®

      • 9:29 am - February 19, 2013

      • Reply
  • patty neal

    This site was very Helpful To Me.We have a Night Critter coming in and eating our Chickens.So far its only Getting small Bantams.

    • 8:50 am - June 25, 2013

    • Reply
  • Douglas Keessen

    FYI, I have used dozens of containers, hundreds of dollars worth of Critter Ridder. the skunks dig through it like it is sugar. does no good at all except waste my money. a refund from Critter Ridder would be awesome!

    • 10:06 am - June 5, 2014

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Douglas! Thank you for your comment! We apologize for your experience! Critter Ridder® has been demonstrated through field and lab studies to work for the 7 animals listed on the label – including skunks, the majority of the time. This is why it is EPA approved for those animals. However it’s not 100%, and no repellent is. Every animal is different, just like humans, and it affects each individual animal differently.

      The use over an extended period can is most effective, as we’ve found that prolonged use can actually condition the animal to stay away from the area. Animals that have been using an area habitually must be conditioned over time to use a different area. This may take repeated applications and an extended period if animals have been frequenting an area for a long time.

      Please feel free to give our customer care team a call so we can help you out. You can reach as at 855-5-HAVAHART. Again, thanks for reaching out and please let us know if you have any other questions.

      • 11:04 am - June 6, 2014

      • Reply
  • Rebecca

    Hello.. Last night we found that we have a family of skunks in the woods beside our house & they came in our yard.. They left their BAD order behind. We do not want to harm them in any way, but want to repel them from coming in our yard.. All of the repellants that we have been looking at repel deer & cats as well.. We don’t want that. We have two cats & we have a family of deer as well that likes to play in our yard. Do your know of a repellant that just repels skunks?? Please let me know asap.. Thanks 🙂

    • 11:25 am - July 14, 2014

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Rebecca! Our Critter Ridder® repellent repels 7 different kinds of animals, including skunks, but not deer. However it does repel cats. Unfortunately we do not have a repellent just for skunks. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

      • 9:50 am - July 18, 2014

      • Reply
  • Janice Trainor

    Does your Critter Ridder bother dogs? I have a dog that has been sprayed several times by skunks. We have to get rid of them

    • 8:02 am - October 24, 2014

    • Reply
    • Havahart®

      Hi Janice! Critter Ridder is designed to keep dogs away from the area you treat with it, but if you treat the perimeter of your property you shouldn’t have any problems. It will keep the skunks from coming in, and hopefully your dog from getting too close to the perimeter. Critter Ridder® is totally safe, so it won’t harm any animals. Thank you!

      • 9:23 am - October 24, 2014

      • Reply
  • Kevin graves

    I read that if u put the repell around the permitter of our property it won’t harm your domestic animals!
    We have 3 wooded acres and our outside cat “Big Boy”, she luvs to roam! Not sure if I should use it
    thank you

    • 12:46 am - September 13, 2015

    • Reply
  • Anthony Attkisson

    Yes, I discovered an animal burrow hole behind on the south side of my home behind my Holly hedge and between the wall and the hedge row…I crawled behind the hedge row and the foot wide hole appears to go way from the home’s foundation and under the hedge root system…I could not smell a lingering odor of a skunk; could it be a rabbit hole or a ground hog’s burrow? Regardless, does “Critter Ridder” repellant repel skunks, rabbits and ground hog too. I have no pets and I don’t want any wild animals setting up residence around my house and then get into my spring garden in 2016…if this repellant works, who sells it and how much does it cost…thank you Anthony Attkisson.

    • 12:30 pm - September 22, 2015

    • Reply

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