Despite their reputation for being olfactory offenders, skunks actually take it pretty easy on humans. Their distinctive white-striped body is easy to spot in grass, and they’ll typically give you plenty of warning signs—hissing, stomping, a handstand—before their anal glands douse you in a putrid spray. Despite their temperament, you still may prefer to avoid them altogether for two reasons: You have a pet that may not pay attention to their threats, or you want to eliminate the lingering odor of skunks who have chosen your yard or deck as a social hub.
According to the The Mercury News, there are some quick and humane ways to evict the unwanted guests. First, don’t leave any food meant for your pets outdoors. Skunks will happily chomp down on processed pet kibble if you give them the opportunity. They’ll snack on grubs, too, which means you should eliminate the grubs using nematodes—tiny roundworms that kill snails and slugs. And if a skunk is setting up shop on your property and looking to move a family in, filling their den with straw or more dirt might help dissuade them from returning.
You can use more mechanical methods, too. Motion lights tend to scare off skunks, who like to search for food nocturnally. And if you have a battery-powered radio, you can leave it outside at a low volume—skunks will avoid any place where it sounds like there’s a lot going on.
Dealing with another species of uninvited mammal? The above methods might also work on raccoons and opossums.
[h/t Mercury News]