Skunks are small black and white animals. They are not usually aggressive, but when threatened may spray a very unpleasant-smelling substance. Skunks often do a ‘hand stand’ on their front paws with their tail and body in the air before spraying. If you see a skunk in this position, you should retreat quietly and slowly to avoid being sprayed.
In the wild skunks are predators of small mammals like rodents and insects, but they will also eat accessible pet food and garbage, as well as eggs from backyard chicken coops. Removing all food sources will discourage skunks from taking up residence on your property.
Urban and suburban skunks often den under buildings and decks. They can be kept out by making sure crawl space vents are in good repair, closing up other entrances to your crawl space, and using hardware cloth to close areas under decks.
Page last reviewed: September 1, 2023