Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Remove a Skunk From a Crawl Space

Skunks require a quiet, protective den. While most skunks prefer natural dens in fallen trees or in underground tunnels, others seek refuge in barns, outbuildings or accessible crawl spaces of suburban homes. Once a skunk has gained access to your crawl space, it may take up residence there. Removal of a skunk can be difficult as skunks are aggressive creatures when provoked and are armed with cutting front claws and teeth. Skunks also defend themselves by emitting a powerful, noxious spray that can repel any aggressor. Knowing how to overcome a skunk's defense mechanisms can lead to a successful trapping and removal of these unwelcome guests.

Locate and seal with screen wire the point at which the skunk entered the crawl space. Do this by carefully inspecting the perimeter of your home's foundation. Typically, entrance points will be through foundation vents in which the protective screen wire is missing. Close and seal any gap in or around your foundation to prevent re-entry once the skunk is removed.

Use the crawl space access door to enter the crawl space. Before entering the crawl space, make sufficient noise to warn the skunk of your presence and to allow the skunk to retreat to a remote location before your entry. Skunks are unlikely to attack or spray unless threatened by close contact.

Place the spray-proof trap 3 feet inside the crawl space. Place an open can of sardines or tuna well inside the trap and set the trap door in the open position. Arrange small piles of twigs and leaves on each side of the trap entrance to funnel the skunk into the entrance. Cover all of the trap except the entrance with a small tarp or canvas sheeting.

Check the trap once daily. Once the trap has been sprung, quietly approach the trap and fold the tarp over the entrance to completely enclose the trap. Wait a minimum of one hour to allow the skunk to calm down before lifting and transporting the trap. The spray-proof trap is designed to limit the upward movement of the skunk's tail and will prevent its ability to spray.

Transport the skunk in the trap to a wooded location a minimum of 10 miles from your home. Place the trap on level ground, keeping the cover over the entire trap. Wait 20 minutes to allow the skunk to settle down. Quietly approach the trap and lift the cover over the entrance only. Release the trap door and quickly leave (run) from the area to avoid being sprayed by an angry skunk.

Retrieve the trap only after the skunk is out of sight.


Allow as much time as you can after trapping the skunk to allow it to acclimate to his surroundings and calm down after trapping, before moving and releasing. This will reduce the likelihood of the skunk spraying.


Skunks are carriers of rabies. Observe the released skunk from a safe distance, preferably from inside a vehicle, to see if the skunk demonstrates aggressive or erratic behavior or if the skunks appears sick. If any of these signs are apparent, notify local animal control.

Garden Guides