How to Trap a Skunk

A skunk is a territorial animal that has helpful habits like eating insects and rodents. But when skunks set up home around human dwellings, they can become obnoxious pests. Since they're predators, skunks tend to eat ground-nesting bird populations which can be devastating for egg and poultry farmers. They also do significant damage to gardens while searching for grubs by rolling back large sections of sod or creating numerous small pits 3 to 5 inches wide.

Skunks tend to be disease spreaders since they're often heavily infested with disease-transmitting insects like mites, fleas and ticks. Rabies rates in skunks is also high.

The best way to avoid a skunk problem is to prevent it before it starts. However, once a skunk becomes established, the only way to get rid of it is to trap it. Here are a few tips on how to effectively trap a skunk.

Choose the Trap

Trap dimensions should be 11x12x30 inches or 10x12x32 inches. Purchase a trap at a local hardware store or rent one from a pest control company. If the trap you're using has an open grid, cover the sides, bottom and top with heavy cardboard or ¼-inch plywood. This will reduce the chance of being sprayed when you pick up the trap to relocate the skunk. A skunk that can't see you probably won't spray.

Select Bait

The skunk needs to be lured into the trap and the only way to do this is through the right selection of bait. Pet food, raw chicken parts and sardines appeal to skunks. Unfortunately, they can also attract feral cats. If you have stray or roaming cats in your area, stick to baits like peanut butter and raw whole eggs.

Position the Trap

While it may be tempting to place the trap under a building or deck where the skunk may like to hide, doing so increases the chance of being sprayed by the panicked, trapped mammal when you want to move it. Instead, position the trap near a suspected entry point. Since skunks usually have multiple entry points to their dens, block the other openings to encourage the skunk to use the one with the trap.

Relocate the Skunk

Once the skunk has been trapped, approach the cage carefully. Only approach if the skunk appears to be calm. Back away if you hear hissing noises or if the skunk is pounding its front feet. These could be signs that it's ready to spray. Return when the skunk has quieted. Then approach the trap carrying a large sheet. Gently wrap the trap with the sheet to further reduce the chance of the skunk seeing you.

Carefully place the trap in the back of a truck. Do not shake the trap or you could get sprayed. Drive to a remote area and place the trap on the ground. Stand behind it so the skunk can't see you, then slowly open the trap door. Go back in the truck and wait for the skunk to leave the trap.