We’re all familiar with skunks - those black and white bandits we used to see, as children, in cartoons. Famous for their less than pleasant smell, skunks are some of the most agile, and common home intruders when it comes to nuisance wildlife. In order to be able to protect your home against wildlife, it is important that you first understand what’s attracting the animal in the first place.

So let’s talk a bit about why skunks come to your property, why they dig up your yard, and what you can do about it.

Why are there skunks in my yard at night?

Of course, wild animals can bother you at any time, but skunks, like many other wild creatures, tend to be nocturnal, so it’s likely that you’ll hear noises in the yard if you’ve got a skunk problem.

Interestingly enough, while skunks are best known for their pungent, repulsive scent (which acts, of course, as a defence mechanism), the number one skunk problem for homeowners is the digging. Since skunks are unlikely to stick around for a confrontation or spray you or your pet, unless they feel seriously threatened, they’ll probably take it out on your yard, instead.

Skunks will leave behind little dirt mounds, and holes, essentially wrecking your lawn.

The reason why skunks will sneak into your yard at night is fairly simple. Like any other wild animal, they are mainly looking for two things - food and shelter. And since skunks will eat a wide and varied diet of anything from insects, to larvae, and other sorts of bugs, there will be plenty in your soil to keep them coming back.

Skunks are also attracted to fallen fruit in your yard, as well as planting fruit and vegetables. This is also why they can be a real nightmare for the amateur gardener. Lastly, skunks may also dig around in your trash, or even try to sneak into the home, if you’ve got a pet door or a similar opening. So really, there are plenty of things to attract a skunk to your property.

But the main reason why you’ll get skunks digging around in your yard at night is that they’re trying to feed on the insects, larvae, and other sorts of bugs in there. You can visit skunkpestcontrol.com to learn more about why skunks are digging up your yard at night.

What are the signs that a skunk has been digging up your yard?

As it happens, skunks aren’t the only wild animal that likes to dig up your yard. This means you need to pay attention when examining your property, to ensure that you’ve correctly identified the culprit. The wrong assumption can lead you to try to repel some other animal, which can prove vastly inefficient in dealing with skunks.

So you’ll need to look for signs of a skunk infestation, especially, and not something else. Make sure to wear some protective gear, such as gloves, and thick rubber boots, when going to inspect a wild animals’ burrow.

Skunks tend to dig two types of holes - a set of shallower holes to look for food in the earth, and a set of deeper holes that they use for burrowing. Typically, a skunk’s burrow will have an entrance of around 8 inches in width, and go in very deep, often so much so that you won’t even be able to see the bottom (aka the nest) when peering down.

You may also find a little hair around the entrance, so this can be another tell-tale sign of a skunk infestation. Lastly, one other sign to look for is the presence of a protective object. Skunks are very clever creatures. They will usually dig their burrows under a large, sturdy object, such as a rock, or even a patio, so as to ensure their own protection. So if you’re struggling with a mysterious animal who seems to be active at night, and digs deep holes under large objects, there are good chances it’s a skunk.

What should you do next?

While you might have some success inspecting your yard on your own, we wouldn’t really recommend attempting to get rid of the skunk yourself. First Choice Wildlife Service is an experienced wildlife removal company that specializes in humane removal methods, and can also help you in preventing future infestations.

The reason why it’s better to leave it to a professional is that first of all, you’re not exposing yourself directly to a potential attack from the wild animal in question. While most nuisance animals prefer flight over fight, handling them rashly or with an inexperienced hand, you risk scaring them. Generally, skunks that fear for their life are quite likely to attack you, in this case, spray you, so as to protect themselves.

This is why it would be best to allow a trained professional to handle the wild animal, for everyone’s safety.

Preventing future skunk infestations

Of course, the next step you’ll want to consider after dealing with your skunk problem will be making sure that such an infestation does not happen again. How to do that?

Well, as we’ve seen, skunks (like most other wild animals) are usually attracted to your properties by potential sources of food. So obviously, the first thing you’ll want to do is eliminate those sources. It might be a good idea to put up a protective fence around your garden, so as to keep skunks (and other pests) from attempting to dig it up.

The great thing about fencing is that it tends to keep more than one type of pest away at a time.

You might also try reducing the presence of food sources on your property in the form of fallen fruit, open trash cans, and pet bowls, all of which can provide easy access to food for a bothersome skunk.

At the very least try to seal your trash cans, and take pet bowls indoors when you go to bed at night.