Skunks are some of the nicest looking rodents but their visual appeal doesn’t make them any less troublesome. One of the biggest headaches for homeowners with skunks nesting under the deck is the unbearable smell. Things get even worse if you or a pet are sprayed by the skunk. These rodents also have a destructive disposition, digging holes in the yard, destroying vegetable gardens and damaging electrical work or plumbing. It is time to remove the skunks.
Why You Shouldn’t Kill or Trap Skunks
Killing skunks is outright inhumane and actually illegal in Canada. Skunks are protected wildlife so you will likely face a fine for shooting or poisoning a skunk.
Trapping makes a lot more sense but isn’t an effective way to remove skunks either. For one, a skunk might be injured if the cage or trap is defective or the wrong size. Trapping the skunk also exposes it to the elements and predators especially if you don’t check on the trap at least once every day. Again, it is illegal to harm wildlife whether it’s accidental or intentional.
Secondly, it is illegal to transport trapped wildlife in Toronto for more than one kilometer. Releasing skunks in close vicinity to your property means there is a good chance they might find their way back.
Skunks are disease carriers including rabies, Distemper, leptospirosis, Anaplasmosis and Lyme disease among others. It is better not to come into close contact with the animals if you can help it, even if they are inside a cage.
Finally, skunk activity under your shed most likely means a skunk family (a mother and its young) especially in April through to September which is their prime breeding months. Trapping the mother means almost certain death for its young who are incapable of fending for themselves.
How to Get Rid Of Skunks from their Den
Exclusion is the most humane and effective way to get rid of skunks nesting under your den.
The first step is to dig a trench around the perimeter of the deck, at least 2 feet deep all around. Leave enough space to install a one-way door or exclusion cage.
Next, install galvanized steel mesh around the deck sealing all possible entry points except for the single opening where the skunks will get out from. Inspect your work to ensure that there are no more openings where the skunks can get in an out from under the deck.
Lastly, install a one-way door. This door only opens one way and allows the skunks to get out to forage but cannot find their way back in. Leave the door for at least a week during which time all the skunks should have left the nest. Inspect the door regularly for damage and to ensure that it’s working as it should.
The galvanized steel mesh is effective in keeping skunks out and installing it at least 2 feet under ground guarantees that the rodents can’t dig their way through the barrier.
Why You Should Hire a Professional Wildlife Control Company
Exclusion is a straightforward, simple, effective and humane skunk control method but is a job best left to the professionals.
One of the main concerns of DIY exclusion is separating a mother from its young ones. A desperate mother can cause untold damage to your property in an attempt to get back to its young. You might also inadvertently sentence the younglings to die from starvation and exposure leaving you to deal with the aftermath of rotting corpses and a stained conscience.
A wildlife control expert can perform the preliminary investigations to identify whether the skunk(s) have young ones in the nest. It is sometimes more humane to allow the young ones to grow old enough to follow their mother through the one-way door. It is also inhumane to chase away skunks in the dead of winter which is something a wildlife control expert is able to take into account.
Excluding the skunks also doesn’t resolve the initial problem of why they chose your property in the first place. The most common reason for skunks to invade a property is abundance of food especially if you have a compost pile, leave pet food outside or leave garbage in the yard. A professional will not only get rid of the rodents but his job also involves making sure that they don’t come back.
Note that there is a difference between a pest control expert and wildlife control expert in Toronto. Prefer the latter simply because the professional has all the knowledge, experience and expertise needed to deal with a skunk problem.
Finally, ensure that your wildlife control company offers a warranty for the job. Skunks are devious and intelligent animals and sometimes outsmart the professionals. A warranty of one or two years means that you don’t have to pay any more money for a skunk problem that should have been resolved the first time around.