Skunks are intriguing creatures that can be found all over America, except for desert regions. Now, the burning question is, can skunks climb fences intended to keep them out?
Well, it turns out the answer isn’t a simple “yes” or “no.”
In the United States, you’ll come across 4 distinct skunk species: the spotted skunk, the striped skunk, the hooded skunk, and the hog-nosed skunk.
Let’s take a closer look at their climbing abilities and find out which fences might keep them at bay.
Can Skunks Climb Fences?
Before we delve into ways to protect your yard from skunk invasions, let’s get familiar with each of the 4 most common North American skunk species.
1. Spotted Skunk
The spotted skunks come in 2 types – western and eastern.
Eastern spotted skunks have a black-tipped tail and broken white stripes along their backs, while western spotted skunks sport broad a white-tipped tail and white stripes. These skunks are faster and smaller than the striped ones.
Eastern spotted skunks, in particular, have a knack for climbing, often descending trees head-first. On the other hand, the western spotted skunks are also agile climbers, though not as proficient as their eastern counterparts.
2. Striped Skunk – Can Striped Skunks Climb?
Picture a skunk in your mind – the chances are you’re thinking about a striped skunk.
These are the largest of the bunch, weighing up to 14 pounds. Their distinctive feature is a V-neck mark on their back and the big white stripes adorning their black fur – a snout stripe.
Striped skunks are not natural-born climbers, mainly due to their long nails, which make grasping onto things a tad challenging. However, they might still attempt to climb a fence occasionally.
Watch out, though, as they can scale trees as high as attics or chimneys.
3. Hooded Skunk
Hooded skunks are equipped with tufts of fur around their necks, and some have 2 thin white stripes along their tail and back.
Others have a split, white-tailed, and 1 thick white stripe. Despite often being mistaken for striped skunks, they prefer to stick to the ground and are rarely seen climbing anything.
4. Hog-Nosed Skunk
Weighing between two to six pounds, hog-nosed skunks are relatively large. You can recognize them by the single broad white stripe running from their nose to their tail.
With their long snouts and claws, they are more inclined towards digging than climbing. So, these skunks are less likely to cause trouble by attempting to scale fences.
How Do I Get Rid Of Skunks In My Yard?
Skunks might have their perks in the yard, as they help control harmful pests, but let’s be honest – having them around isn’t always a pleasant experience.
The infamous odor, potential diseases they carry, and the damage caused by their burrowing and digging are valid reasons for keeping these critters away from your property.
Skunks can be found seeking shelter in garages, sheds, porches, and even under buildings. They’ll gladly make dens under stumps, in tree holes, rocks, logs, or woodpiles.
As opportunistic scavengers, skunks are omnivorous and will devour almost anything they can find.
Rodents, insects, birds, pet food, birdseed, veggies from your garden, chickens, eggs – you name it! Their relentless digging leaves unsightly holes all over the lawn, typically ranging from one to three inches in depth and diameter.
To minimize the chances of your property becoming a skunk sanctuary, take some proactive steps to make it unappealing to these nocturnal creatures. Here are some smart tips to keep those skunks at bay:
1. No Outdoor Pet Food
Avoid leaving pet food outdoors, as it can attract both rodents (a skunk’s favorite meal) and skunks themselves. Hang bird feeders out of their reach, and harvest produce from your fruit trees or garden promptly to prevent them from becoming skunk treats.
2. Tidy Up Your Yard
Skunks are drawn to places that offer comfortable hiding spots. So, clean up your yard and remove any tempting attractions like unwanted rockpiles, lumber, tree stumps, fence posts, or other potential skunk havens. Additionally, patch up any holes in your foundations or decks that might be inviting to these critters.
3. Secure Trash Cans
Skunks are notorious for rummaging through garbage. Keep all your trash in bins with locking, tight-fitting lids to prevent them from turning your trash into their feast.
4. Regular Cleanup
Skunks have a penchant for insects, and these little critters love to hang out around fallen fruit, berries, nuts, leaves, and branches. Regularly clean up these areas to reduce the insect population and skunk interest.
5. Fortify Your Boundaries
Secure your house and garden entries with metal flashing, mesh fencing, sturdy barriers, hardware cloth, or boards. Trim branches that are too close to your home, as skunks can use them as a stepping stone.
6. Fill Burrows And Holes
Reduce the chances of a skunk settling in your yard by filling up any animal holes and burrows they might consider as potential homes.
7. Skunk Repellents
Consider using skunk repellents, such as granular or liquid options, or even an electronic device that sprays water at the skunk when it gets too close.
8. Illuminate The Night
Skunks prefer the dark, so install night lights around your property to deter them. They’re also sensitive to sound, but blasting music all night might not be the best solution if you have neighbors nearby.
9. Seek Professional Help If Needed
In some cases, a skunk might prove to be stubborn and refuse to leave your property. If that happens, don’t hesitate to get in touch with a pest control company for professional assistance. Trapping a skunk yourself can be tricky and stressful, not to mention the risk of getting sprayed.
10. Dealing With A Skunk Inside
If you find a skunk inside your garage or house, open all doors except one, which the skunk can use as an exit point. Don’t attempt to use food to lure it out, as it might associate your home with a food source, and keep coming back for more.
Will A Fence Keep A Skunk Out?
For those unfortunate enough to have skunks snooping around their property, finding the right fence is crucial.
While not all skunk species are natural climbers, some can be persistent in their attempts to break in. Their sharp claws make it easy for them to scale chain-link and wooden fences, giving them access to yards and roofs via nearby branches and trees.
So, what kind of fence should you opt for?
A solid metal fence, standing at least two feet tall, could be your best bet. The smooth surface will make it tough for skunks to get a grip and climb over.
Although a metal fence might be pricier than a wooden one, it can effectively resolve your skunk problem. Notably, this type of fence could also keep opossums at bay since they’re excellent climbers too (find out how to get rid of armadillos under deck).
If a metal fence isn’t an option for you, make sure to maintain your chain-link or wood fence in good condition.
But here’s the kicker – even if skunks don’t climb, they’re masterful diggers. Armed with sharp teeth and powerful claws, they can easily burrow underground and make their way into your yard or even your home.
To counter this, your fence should extend deep enough into the ground, reaching between one and two feet below the surface level, to prevent their underground ventures.
1. How high can a skunk climb?
Skunks can climb up to 3 feet high.
2. How does a skunk get in a fenced yard?
Skunks can get in a fenced yard by digging, squeezing through gaps, or using nearby objects to climb.
3. Where do skunks hide during the day?
Skunks hide in burrows, under decks, in shrubbery, or other secluded areas during the day.
4. Can skunks climb brick walls?
Skunks are not good climbers and generally cannot climb brick walls.
5. Can skunks climb onto a roof?
Skunks can climb onto a roof using nearby objects like trees or downspouts.
6. Can skunks squeeze through fences?
Skunks can squeeze through small openings in fences.
7. Can skunks climb trees?
Skunks are not adept tree climbers but can climb lower branches.
8. Can skunks jump like a cat?
Skunks cannot jump like a cat; they have limited jumping ability.
9. Can skunks climb into attics?
Skunks can climb into attics through openings or damaged areas.
Skunks can climb chain link fences, especially if there are objects nearby to assist them.
Conclusion: Do Skunks Climb Fences?
Skunks can climb fences, especially if the fence has rough surfaces or objects nearby that provide leverage for them to climb (you might also be interested in checking out: can foxes climb fences?)
Before attempting to trap or relocate skunks, familiarize yourself with regulations and local laws concerning wildlife trapping in your location. Some states have specific rules or even prohibit trapping wildlife.
With these smart tips in mind, you’ll be better equipped to keep those skunks away from your property, ensuring a more pleasant and odor-free living space!