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How to keep skunks out of my garbage cans

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Like other foraging wildlife, skunks are notorious for the messes they make when they raid garbage cans. Urban dwelling skunks largely depend on human and pets leftovers, for which they have grown quite adept at overturning garbage cans at night.

The way to keep them out is simple, yet requires dedicated effort. Skunk will always come to your yard when there is food available for the taking. Ensure that the following measures are in place on your property:
  • Don’t leave your trashcans and recycling bins outdoors. As much as possible, they should be kept indoors or in sealed areas such as a locked shed or outhouse.
  • And if you must leave your garbage can outside, ensure to use animal-proof lids. Skunks can be quite determined whilst opening trash cans. Purchase a heavy metal trash can. This is less likely to be torn apart or pushed over by hungry wildlife.
  • If your garbage can is not the animal-proof type, you can still secure it by tying the lid down with a bungee cord. Thereafter, place a concrete block on top of the lid to hold it in place.
  • Bring pet food dishes inside at night to avoid attracting wildlife. As long as there is something to eat, they’ll keep visiting.
  • Keep your yard clean. Don’t leave out any eat-out leftovers or litter.
  • Pack up any potential attractant in sight; this would include birdfeeders and fruits fallen from trees.
  • Eliminate cover like brush piles and wood piles. The absence of hiding places on your property will serve to discourage the nocturnal animal.
You may also want to spray a repellent substance around your garbage can, only remember to reapply every now and then. These include ammonia and predator-based solutions. Note however, that repellents will prove ineffective where attractants are not eliminated, because as long as there is food to eat, the skunk will keep coming back and will eventually adapt to the repelling substance. Read more about How to keep skunks away.

If you have tried all and the skunk problem persists, you may want to call in a wildlife professional in your area for expert advice and execution.

Go back to the Skunk Removal page, or learn tips by reading How to get rid of skunks.

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