When Can You Remove a Denning Skunk?

By Chris Williams on May 18, 2015.

Striped skunk litter

We seem to have a skunk living on our property. A couple of times I’ve seen a skunk go into the space under our backyard shed. We have a dog and I’m afraid to let him go out now in case he has a close encounter with the skunk. Is there anything we can do to get the skunk to move on? R.D., Epsom, NH


Often when a customer sees a skunk in their yard it is only visiting and not living there. Skunks have a wide home range of up to 4 miles during breeding season. But it sounds like you may have a denning female skunk who could be giving birth under your shed. This is the right time of year for that.

The space under a shed would be a typical denning site (see Yes, Skunks Will Nest in Your Yard). Skunks don’t spend much time digging burrows. They will use the abandoned burrow of another animal or may nest in a brush pile or hollow log, or they may den under a porch, deck, or shed. If your skunk has indeed adopted your shed as her denning site, it will be hard to get her to move on.

A professional trapper or a pest control company with nuisance wildlife certification can remove a denning skunk with one-way doors or live traps. There’s just one problem with removing a skunk anytime from May to August, if it’s a female. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, our striped skunks have just now given birth.

Baby Skunks Won’t Leave the Den for Awhile

Typically, 4 to 7 baby skunks (called “kits”) are born from late April to late May. Those kits are blind and helpless and won’t be leaving the den until they are 6 to 8 weeks old. If the mother is trapped and removed now, the young will be left behind to die. Furthermore, if the mother is disturbed when she has young in the den, she might move them to a new den. That could be a good or bad thing, depending on where that other den is located.

Even after the young first leave the den, they follow mom around on her excursions and continue to den with her until they are completely independent at two to five months. Even more bad news is that the kits are capable of releasing that skunky smell when they are only 7 weeks old.

Yes, We Do Skunks Too at Colonial Pest Control

Give us a call and let one of our specialists evaluate your skunk situation. Wildlife control is one of our specialties. We’ve been trapping and excluding skunks and other nuisance wildlife around homes for 30 years. We have technicians that are certified and licensed in Nuisance Wildlife Removal and Exclusion in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In the meantime, if your dog meets the skunks, we have advice for that. See Deskunking! – Advice From the Pros



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