How Much Does Skunk Removal Cost?
The sight of their signature black and white stripes or a whiff of their signature scent is enough to panic any homeowner. Skunk removal cost falls between $300 and $600, and the national average cost for skunk removal is $450.
- Skunk removal typically costs between $300 and $600, with homeowners across the country paying an average cost of $450.
- Skunk removal cost is determined by a number of factors, including the number of skunks, the location of the skunks, the need for emergency skunk removal, home repairs and cleaning, skunk smell or dead skunk removal, and the implementation of skunk prevention methods.
- A homeowner may need to contact a wildlife removal expert for skunk removal if they notice holes in their yard, frequent skunk smells, or skunk tracks.
- Because skunks are prone to spraying humans and animals when threatened, it’s best to call a professional to remove them from a property. A professional wildlife service will ensure the skunks are removed safely and humanely.
Chances are, if a homeowner has a skunk on their property, they will smell it before they see it. Skunks are nocturnal, emerging from their dens at night to forage for food and retreating back to the comfort of their dens once the sun comes up. Because of this, it may be difficult for a homeowner to know if a skunk has taken up residence in the yard, under the house, or in a shed—unless the animal gets scared and sprays, of course.
If a skunk is present on the property and creating problems like foraging in garbage cans, eating plants, or spraying pets, then it’s time for the homeowner to come up with an eviction plan. Skunk removal can be done through trapping and relocation, and preventative measures can be taken to discourage skunks from coming around in the first place or returning. Skunk removal costs between $300 and $600, with the national average at $450, according to HomeAdvisor and Angi. The cost takes into account not only the removal of the physical skunk but, in some cases, also the odors it may leave behind.
Factors in Calculating Skunk Removal Cost
Wildlife removal costs vary depending on the number of animals, the difficulty of removal, and the amount of damage they’ve done. Skunk removal is no different, except for one distinguishing factor—the smell. Removing a skunk that has moved into a home or yard and taking the necessary preventative measures to keep it from coming back can help reduce damage and keep the property smelling fresh.
It’s important for homeowners to note that, while national averages offer a good guideline, local costs will likely vary due to average costs in the area and the services that individual companies offer.
Number of Skunks
Skunks typically give birth to one litter a year between May and June and produce four to six babies per litter. This means that if a skunk den is discovered in late spring or early summer, there is a chance that the den will be the home to more than just one skunk. Baby skunks stay in the den for about 8 weeks before emerging. If a skunk needs to be removed, it’s important first to find out if there are babies in the den and to remove them as well.
In the non-mating season and during cold weather, it’s possible that up to 20 skunks will share a den. Additional skunks cost around $75 each to remove.
Skunks make their dens by burrowing, but they will also take up residence in a den abandoned by another animal. Skunks prefer places that are relatively dark and quiet during the day, since that’s where they spend most of their daylight hours. These areas include unfinished basements, unused garages, crawl spaces under the house or porch, chicken coops, and backyards.
The cost of skunk removal services depends on where the den is located, with more difficult-to-reach places, like crawl spaces and areas under porches, falling in the higher range of around $600. Removal from easier-to-access locations, like garages and sheds, will likely cost less.
Emergency Skunk Removal
If there’s a skunk on the property and it’s trapped or showing signs of rabies, emergency skunk removal is needed. As with most emergency animal removal situations, emergency skunk removal will likely cost more if the service is needed outside of business hours.
If emergency skunk removal is needed during regular business hours, the removal company may not charge extra, depending on the services needed and their scheduling availability. The additional fee for emergency skunk removal can run between $75 and $100.
Repairs and Cleaning
The cost of repairs and cleaning will depend on the extent of the damage. When skunks build burrows, they may tunnel under the house, shed, porch, and even foundation. In extreme circumstances, they can cause structural damage. They may also gain access to the inside of the building, leading to homeowners dealing with a skunk inside their home.
Repairs for animal damage can cost around $700, but this cost is highly dependent on the amount of damage that was caused and the materials and labor needed to repair it.
Skunk Smell Removal
Probably the most known, and feared, skunk issue is skunk spray. Even if a skunk doesn’t spray in a house, the smell still can come through the windows and doors, permeating furniture, clothing, carpets, and anything else it comes into contact with.
With some DIY solutions, skunk smell removal in the house can be tackled with common household cleaners like distilled white vinegar, Murphy’s Oil Soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda, keeping the cost low. Some wildlife removal companies offer cleaning as part of their services, and trained technicians know the best methods for how to get rid of skunk smell and where to treat for skunk spray.
If a determined dog or curious cat comes in contact with a skunk and gets sprayed, skunk spray removal for dogs and cats can also be made with common household cleaners and a good recipe for skunk spray removal; this typically includes hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and plenty of soap and water.
Dead Skunk Removal
Dead skunk removal can actually cost less than live skunk removal because there is no trapping involved; therefore, it’s usually a faster process. Removing a dead skunk is important for a few reasons. First, as the skunk decomposes, the smell will continue to get worse. Second, skunks can carry diseases that could spread to people if they come into contact with the dead skunk.
The cost to remove a dead skunk is between $150 and $200, depending on where it’s located and how long it will take to remove.
Whether a skunk has just been removed or the homeowner is trying to make sure a skunk never moves in, skunk prevention methods can be effective for deterring skunks and keeping them off of the property.
Skunks avoid certain smells, like peppermint oil, garlic, dried blood, and predator urine, so the best skunk repellents are those made with a scent that skunks dislike and want to avoid. Skunk repellents cost between $15 and $30 but should be reapplied periodically, so it’s not necessarily a onetime cost.
Other methods of skunk prevention can be free but require some effort on the part of the homeowner. Quickly removing any fallen fruit and nuts from the ground, cleaning up birdseed and securing any feeders, feeding pets indoors, and generally removing anything that could attract skunks can help prevent skunks from moving in.
Types of Skunk Removal Locations
Finding a skunk is never a pleasant experience, and finding one under the house or in a basement is even worse. Skunks can show up in places where they’re least expected as they search for a safe place to make their den and care for their babies.
While attics are a likely place for many animals to call their home, skunks in the attic are less likely. While striped skunks can climb mesh and fences, they aren’t great climbers, so the chance of them making it to an attic is rare. Spotted skunks, on the other hand, are great climbers and can climb trees to access the attic more easily.
Attics are dark, quiet places where insects are often plentiful, so if a skunk does find its way up to an attic, it may plan on staying for a while. If there is a skunk in an attic, immediate removal is necessary to make sure the animal doesn’t spray inside. Finding the entry point and sealing it up are crucial in making sure another skunk won’t find its way to the attic as well.
A backyard skunk is a relatively common sight. Skunks need to eat, so they often dig feeding holes in backyards in search of insects and grubs. Backyards where fruit and nuts fall on the ground, bird feeders that drop birdseed, and garbage cans left unsecured can all provide a bounty for a hungry skunk. Skunks may also make their dens by burrowing under a wood pile or backyard structure. The cost to remove a skunk from the backyard depends on how difficult it will be to trap it and whether babies are present in the den.
If a skunk has made its way to the basement, this may be a case for emergency skunk removal, which will likely make the overall cost higher. But it may be worth it for the homeowner to avoid risking skunk spray that could travel through the whole home. To prevent other skunks from entering the basement, it’s important for the homeowner or professional to identify and seal the entry point.
While skunks mainly feed on insects, plants, and fruit, they are omnivores and will eat eggs and small animals. So a chicken coop offers an opportunity for skunks to find lots of food in a small space. If a skunk is found nesting under a chicken coop or there are signs that it’s trying to get in, removal is imperative so it doesn’t destroy the flock and steal the eggs. Skunks can be caught with live traps set up by the coop, and then they can be relocated. Because skunks are attracted to the smell of a dirty coop, keeping it clean can act as a deterrent for hungry skunks.
If the home has a crawl space, it can make a nice place for a skunk to set up shop and wait out the winter or raise babies with a steady supply of insects. Removing skunks from a crawl space can be more difficult than from other areas simply because of space constraints. Crawl spaces can be as little as 18 inches high, but many are larger, sometimes up to 3 feet high. Identifying a den and placing a trap become more difficult in this cramped space and can cause the price to go up.
Skunks won’t usually build a den in a garage that sees a lot of activity, but one that is mostly used for storage may be attractive to a skunk looking for a home. If a skunk finds its way into a garage that is actively being used, it’s likely a case for emergency removal to avoid skunk spray if it gets startled or feels threatened.
Skunk spray removal from a vehicle can be a long process, and in the confined space of a car or truck, the smell can seem even worse. Plus, the smell can waft into the home, making skunk odor removal in the house necessary as well.
The space under a deck provides a desirable nesting place for a skunk. Much like a crawl space, it is dark and quiet, but it’s easier to access, making it even more attractive to a skunk. It’s important for the homeowner or professional to inspect the area under the deck to look for signs of a skunk. Nothing ends a summer barbecue faster than a startled skunk spraying under a deck. Setting traps and relocating a skunk that has burrowed under the deck may be relatively easy, keeping the cost on the lower end.
If a skunk chooses to burrow under a house to build its den, its efforts can lead to structural damage to the foundation that can result in costly repairs. When a skunk is suspected under the house, prompt removal is important to ensure there is as little damage as possible. And if the skunk is startled or threatened and sprays, the smell could permeate the house, leading to a lot of work to achieve complete skunk odor removal.
Under the porch is another popular place for a skunk den, especially when it isn’t in use, such as during the colder months. The space under a porch can vary in size, but live traps can be set in areas where it appears that the skunk enters and exits. As with other areas, once the skunk is trapped and relocated, it’s important to find the den and check for any babies and seal up any entry and exit points. The cost to remove skunks from under the porch will depend on how difficult it is to locate and trap them as well as fix any damage the skunks did while they were under there.
Do I Need Skunk Removal?
If a skunk has moved into a house or yard, skunk removal may be necessary. But the signature skunk scent isn’t necessarily enough to warrant skunk removal. Understanding the signs of a skunk can help a homeowner know when skunk removal is actually necessary versus when a skunk may have just been passing through.
Holes in Yard
Skunks often dig for their food, feasting on the insects and grubs they unearth. Skunks’ feeding holes are just a few inches wide and shallow, just large enough for them to find a few tasty morsels. If a homeowner sees groups of small, shallow holes around the yard, it may be a sign that skunks are hanging around—and if these holes are accompanied by a distinct smell, it’s even more likely. It’s also important for homeowners to note that skunks are only one of the possible animals digging holes in the yard. A wildlife professional can easily identify the type of animal and make a plan to remove it if necessary.
A skunk’s signature smell is a sign that a skunk has taken up residence in or near a home—but not always. A skunk sprays as a defense mechanism when confronted by a predator or otherwise feels threatened. But while a skunk’s actual spray only reaches about 10 feet, the smell can drift for up to 1½ miles. The stronger the scent is, the closer the skunk may be. So if a skunk smell is present in a home or yard, homeowners will want to look for other signs to confirm the presence of a skunk or call a professional to conduct an inspection. After a skunk sprays, it takes 8 to 10 days for the glands to refill, so it’s possible to see signs of a skunk before you smell it.
Skunk tracks are staggered with the front paw looking similar in size to that of a domestic cat and the rear paw being longer with a distinct heel pad. Because their claws aren’t retractable, their prints can be seen in the tracks on each of the five toes.
The presence of skunk tracks is a sure sign that the animal is present on the property. Following the tracks can lead to their burrow, where other signs of skunks—like a hole leading to a den, a hole covered with leaves or twigs, or bite or claw marks—can alert a homeowner to the presence of a skunk.
Skunk Removal: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
When the homeowner first spots (or smells) signs of a skunk, it’s time to decide whether to call a professional or go it alone. Skunks can be trapped relatively easily with a live trap and some bait, such as dry cat food or oily meat. The food will need to be positioned in a way that the skunk will be lured all the way into the trap as well as step on the trigger plate to activate the trap. That’s the easy part.
Transporting the skunk is where things get a little trickier, and professionals are trained to handle these situations. To move a trapped skunk, a homeowner will want to approach the trap holding a blanket that covers as much of their body as possible. They’ll then drape the blanket over the trap, moving slowly and quietly while making just enough noise for the skunk to know there’s someone there but without startling it. Before skunks spray, they display behaviors like stamping their feet, doing small charges toward the threat and then backing away, and raising their tail. If this behavior occurs, it’s wise for the homeowner to back away quickly.
While a DIY approach is possible, finding one of the best wildlife removal services (like Terminix) is a good first step toward skunk removal. Wildlife removal technicians are trained in how to get rid of skunks by trapping and relocating them without triggering the dreaded spray, which could make a bad situation worse. DIY skunk removal may cost less financially, but the risk of getting sprayed may outweigh the added cost of hiring a professional.
How to Save Money on Skunk Removal Cost
The best way to save money on skunk removal cost is to avoid having a skunk make your property its home in the first place. Preventative measures can make the property less desirable to a skunk. DIY trapping and relocation may save some money, but they should be done with caution on the part of the homeowner. To save money, consider taking these preventative measures.
- Make the yard less tempting. Remove fallen fruit and nuts from the ground as quickly as possible.
- Secure bird feeders. Make sure bird feeders can’t be tipped over, and clean up any seed that falls on the ground.
- Secure trash cans. Skunks can easily find food scraps hidden in garbage cans, so securing them can keep skunks out and persuade them to look elsewhere for their next meal.
- Keep up with mowing. Keeping the lawn mowed can reduce the number of tasty insects that live in tall grass, which will make your lawn less appealing to skunks.
- Look into repellents. Use a commercial skunk repellent, or follow a recipe to make a skunk deterrent out of standard groceries like onions, jalapeño, and cayenne pepper, spraying it around the property and making sure to reapply frequently.
- Fence them out. Install walls or fences that go at least one foot underground to deter skunks from climbing over or digging under to access the property.
Questions to Ask About Skunk Removal
When a homeowner notices a skunk problem, their first instinct may be to call literally any wildlife removal service and hire them immediately. But even in the face of a skunk situation, it pays to ask a few questions, so it’s clear what services the company will provide and what they will charge. The following are a few questions to get homeowners started.
- Do you offer a written quote?
- Is the initial inspection included in the cost?
- How do you trap the skunks, and where will you relocate them?
- Do you handle the cleanup of skunk damage and/or smells?
- How do you decide what methods should be used to trap and deter skunks?
- What if the skunks return?
Smelling a skunk or seeing other signs, like droppings or paw prints, can understandably create some panic.The following frequently asked questions about skunk removal can help a homeowner decide on the right course of action.
Q. How do I know if I have skunks?
While a skunk smell may be a sign that a home has skunks, it’s not a guarantee. The scent of skunk spray can travel for miles, so unless it’s really strong, it may not be anything for the homeowner to worry about. Other signs, like feeding holes in the yard, digging marks, a burrow entrance, droppings, and paw prints, might mean the home has skunks living in or around it.
Q. Should I leave skunks alone?
Homeowners will likely wonder what to do about skunks if they see them around their home. Typically, skunks are harmless (except for their scent) and easygoing, and some people even take on the skunk scent gland removal cost to keep skunks as pets—though this practice is seen as inhumane. But they are still wild animals and one of the top carriers of rabies (as well as a very stinky spray), which means homeowners will want to leave them well alone. If a skunk needs to be removed from the property, trapping it to release it elsewhere or calling a professional will be necessary.
Q. Who should I call for skunk removal?
If skunk removal is necessary, finding one of the best wildlife removal companies with good reviews is essential to taking care of the problem. A homeowner can also call their state wildlife department and see if they do skunk removal or can offer recommendations for a trustworthy company. The local humane society might be able to help or offer suggestions as well.
Q. How do I get rid of the skunk smell in my house?
If a skunk sprays near a home, the homeowner may have to deal with a skunk smell in their house. If this happens, there are a few different ways to tackle the smell. Placing bowls of distilled white vinegar in the corners of the rooms can help draw the scent out. Steam cleaning carpets and curtains can also help get the scent out of fabrics where it can lurk.
Q. How do I prevent skunks from entering my home?
Skunks may find their way into an unused place in the home, like an unfinished basement or garage or, less likely, an attic, but keeping these areas clean and free of places for a skunk to burrow and build a nest is a good tactic for keeping them out. If a homeowner sees signs of a skunk or is worried about them getting in the home, spraying a commercial or homemade skunk deterrent can help.
Q. Will animal control remove a skunk?
Whether or not animal control will remove a skunk will depend on the actual animal control agency. Most animal control agencies that are part of the local government are typically in charge of enforcing laws related to animal wellbeing. They will also respond to calls about injured animals, investigate animal bites to humans, handle dangerous animals, and more. If a homeowner is unsure about who to call for skunk removal or if the skunk seems dangerous, the local animal control can likely point them in the right direction.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor