Raccoons and Skunks

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West Davis raccoons 

Raccoons and skunks, like humans, are constantly tending to the basic needs for food and shelter. They find both near our homes. While they may appear to be just curious, they are probably in search of food. Raccoons and skunks are usually not aggressive unless they are sick, threatened, or have young that are being threatened.

  • Do not feed raccoons or skunks.
  • To raccoon-proof a garbage can, fasten the lid securely with rope, bungee cords, chain, or a heavy object.
  • Remove cover by closing off openings under the house, decks and sheds. Cover or otherwise enclose woodpiles. 
  • Use key activated pet doors to prevent raccoons from entering.
  • Sprinkle lawns or planters with cayenne pepper to discourage grub hunting. Control grub populations so that raccoons or skunks will not be drawn to your lawn in the first place. Organic grub control products work very well.
  • Motion activated sprinklers (ex. Scarecrow®) have proven very effective at deterring raccoons, skunks, and other unwanted animals.
  • Fasten bird netting over garden plants. It is easier for raccoons or skunks to dig elsewhere than to remove the netting.
  • Skunks typically crawl under barriers, but raccoons are great climbers. Improve existing fences by enclosing any open area between the bottom of the fence and the ground, or install fence extenders facing outward at a 45-degree angle on top of each post, with two or three strands of wire strung between them.
  • If the area is fairly small, try sinking jars filled with ammonia into the ground, with sponges as wicks. Be sure the jars are anchored in the soil to prevent spilling. Try hanging socks filled with mothballs.
  • Skunks are generally calm animals, but will spray when startled or threatened. Turn on outside lights and make noise before entering the yard. This will alert the skunk to your presence and encourage it to avoid conflict and leave. 
  • Ensure that back yard chickens are protected at night within a sturdy coop.