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How to Repel Skunks

In order to repel skunks and prevent skunk damage, you must follow a repelling plan that targets your problem areas. It's also important to keep your yard free of anything that attracts skunks, like food and shelter. Below, Havahart® provides step-by-step instructions to help create the best skunk repelling plan for you.

1 Identify Areas of Damage


In order to establish an effective skunk repelling plan, you must first become familiar with where your skunks live or frequent as well as their damage areas.

Common skunk habits include:

  • living under your porch or shed
  • eating your fruits or berries
  • raiding your garbage cans
  • burrowing underneath your lawn/home
  • digging in your lawn for grubs and insects (leaving small, cone-shaped holes)

2 Choose the Best Skunk Repellent

Once you've identified your skunks' habits and whereabouts, use the below information to determine whether a liquid, granular, or electronic solution is best for you. A combination of repelling solutions will increase your chances of long-term success deterring skunks from your property.

Liquid Spray Repellents

liquid spray repellent

Best For: Keeping skunks off of targeted surfaces. Spray liquid skunk repellents directly onto items such as:

  • garbage cans
  • corn stalks
  • trash bags
  • woodpiles
  • plants
  • mulch/grass

TIP: Skunks are poor climbers, so limit your application to reachable surfaces and plants - up to 3 feet from ground level.

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Granular Repellents

Animal repellents

Best For: Creating a skunk-repelling barrier around particular areas to keep skunks out. Sprinkle granules in or around the perimeter of areas such as:

  • gardens
  • pathways
  • flowerbeds
  • sheds
  • skunk dens/burrows
  • crawl spaces/porches

TIP: Use granules to drive a skunk out of its burrow: generously apply granules at the opening of the burrow so that skunks will have to walk through the repellent when they exit and enter. The irritation caused by the repellents will make a skunk uncomfortable (particularly when it preens) and eventually drive him out.

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Electronic Repellents

Best For: Detecting movement and frightening skunks with bursts of water. Electronics are great long-term solutions as they condition animals to stay away from an area. They are also chemical-free and safe. Use them in and around:

Electronic repellents
  • vegetable gardens
  • playgrounds
  • property entryways
  • pathways
  • flowerbeds
  • pool areas
  • yards/lawns
  • structures
  • corn fields
  • parks
  • garbage cans
  • woodpiles

TIPS: Electronic repellents require very little maintenance, are eco-friendly and tend to have higher effectiveness against raccoons versus traditional liquid or granular repellents.

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3 Apply as Directed


Carefully following application instructions is critical to the functionality of all animal repellents. Some very important steps to keep in mind include:

  • To ensure lasting effectiveness, reapply liquid and granular repellents as often as indicated on each product's label. Although many repellents are weather-resistant, you should always reapply after heavy rainfall.
  • Shake liquid well before spraying, and for best results, use them in dry conditions with temperatures above 40°F. (For protection from skunks in temperatures below 40°F, consider a granular repellent).
  • When setting up electronic repellents, make sure that the motion sensor and sprinkler are pointed in the direction skunks are likely to approach. Finding the right sensitivity may also take some trial and error - be patient.

4 Remove Attractants

trash can

Sources of food and shelter attract skunks to your property, so by removing these you will help improve the effectiveness of your repellents. Some extra steps to take to help keep skunks away from your property include:

  • removing food/water sources
  • removing trash
  • controlling rodents
  • closing gate/fence gaps
  • fixing broken vents/screens
  • cleaning up birdseed/pet food

Expert Tips

  • When choosing a skunk repellent, select one that irritates skunks' heightened senses of smell and taste. Capsaicin, oil of black pepper or white peppers can serve as powerful scent and taste deterrents for these animals.
  • Repellents will not separate a mother skunk from her young. If you find that after a few weeks of use a skunk is continuing to return to her nest, it is possible that she has kits inside. Be patient and reapply persistently, and once the skunks are old enough to be on their own, they are more likely to relocate themselves.
  • Skunks have impeccable senses of smell, so it is very important to keep your yard clean of all traces of food and garbage to avoid attracting them. Havahart® suggests washing your trash bins periodically to keep them from attracting skunks.
  • Skunks are sensitive to light. Reinforce your repelling plan by installing nightlights around your property - especially in common damage areas.
  • For more repelling tips, read How to Repel »

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