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How to Trap Skunk, Trapping Tips Bait

Skunks aren't too hard to trap. Below is a list of tips to trap skunks effectively.
  • Use a large cage trap, raccoon sized.
  • Set the trap in areas you have seen skunks.
  • Make sure the trap is firm on the ground.
  • Bait the trap with cat food or marshmallows.
  • Put a cover over the top of the trap.
I will explain these bits of advice in more detail below, and give advice on how to avoid getting sprayed when you pick up the trap.

And don't forget: if you have trouble and want to hire a pro like me, someone with experience, click on this map of Professional Wildlife Removal Companies, and you'll find an expert in your town or city. Skunk trapping carries a special consideration, namely that this animal can spray once caught in a trap! Transferring or dealing the the animal can be a dangerous challenge. If you want to try to do it yourself, read my how to get rid of skunks page - but I'll let you know now that I recommend trapping as the best, and most effective method!

What type of trap catches skunks? - A live cage trap, raccoon sized, is best. At least 30 inches long, 12 inches high, ten inches wide. There are many fine manufacturers of traps this size. I've tended to go with the Havahart 1079. But other models will do too, I'm sure. Some people use solid-wall traps to catch skunks, and those are a really great option. The skunk can't see you out of such a trap, and more importantly, it can't spray you. I've never had a skunk spray inside one of these traps. But they may be trickier for you to buy. Even Home Depot sells large cage traps, but if you want a solid trap, you have to find one online and buy it.

What type of bait catches skunks? - Many people want to know what food catches skunks. It's kind of a trick question. The most effective single bait for skunks is usually a meat-based bait, such as wet cat food. Dry cat food works too. But the problem is that these baits might actually catch stray cats! Or people's pet cat. So it might actually be best for you to use marshmallows, which don't attract cats. If you're feeling confident that cats won't be a problem, then go ahead and use meat bait, such as cat food. Read more about What is the best bait to trap a skunk?

Where should I set the skunk trap? - Set it wherever you've seen the skunks. Most commonly, people seem to have problems with skunks going under decks, sheds, porches, or the like. You can set traps at the edge of the porch then. Or, you can install an exclusion barrier around the perimeter of the porch, but leave one small gap open, and set the trap with the open door facing the gap. That way, whenever the skunk tries to come out, it'll have no choice but to enter the trap. If you've just got skunks on your property, stealing pet food or harassing your pets or digging lots of little holes all over the lawn (this process is called yard grubbing), then you can set the trap pretty much anywhere, so long as the animal can smell the bait.

Okay, after I've trapped it, how do I prevent it from spraying? - Aha! Not a problem. Just approach the trapped skunk while holding a cloth, like an old towel, blanket, or bed sheet out wide. Don't let the skunk see you. Gently and slowly approach it, and drape the cloth over the trap. If the skunk can't see, it can't spray. It won't spray if it doesn't know where to spray. Once the cloth is over the cage, it'll calm down. That said, you can still watch the skunk and understand its behavior, and the three signs that it's going to spray.

Sign One: The skunk raises its tail. If it does this, it's agitated, and giving you a warning of what it can do. So just back off, and wait for it to calm down and lower the tail.
Sign Two: If the skunk backs up away from you, with tail raised and fanned, and it starts stomping at the ground with its little front feet, then things are serious. Again, back off and wait for it to chill out before you approach again.
Sign Three: If the skunk whip their rear end around at you with their rectum facing you, and they look back over their shoulder at you, tail high and flared, run! Run as fast as you can, because it's about to let loose with its terrible smelly spray! Again, you can wait out such an agitated state, and approach later.

I should also point out that adult skunks have much better control (like adult humans! Baby skunks are much more likely to misfire, prematurely spray, etc. So keep that in mind. A young skunk is far riskier than an adult skunk, and should be treated accordingly.

What should I do with the animal after I've caught it? - With the cloth still draped over the cage, put the skunk in the trunk of your car or bed of your truck, and put down a rag or tarp to block the dirt, and drive the animal at least five miles away to an approved relocation point, if it's legal to do so in your state. Then open the door and let it out! Some states don't allow skunk relocation, so I have this how to kill a skunk page, but really, I do think you can relocate with no problems.

Also read:
Do mothballs and ammonia help repel skunks?
What should I do with a skunk after I catch it?

For more information on skunk biology and behavior, and for a recipe to remove skunk spray odor, go to my skunk removal information page.
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