Skunks are part of a healthy ecosystem. They keep our environment balanced by eating insects like wasps, hornets and lawn grubs.

What a skunk looks like

Skunks are small in size and weigh up to 14 pounds. They have black coats lined with white stripes along the neck, back and sides.

When you encounter a skunk

Learn what to do when you encounter a skunk in public spaces or on your private property causing a nuisance or when you or your pet gets sprayed.

If you encounter a skunk, move away from the skunk slowly to avoid causing an alarm. When provoked, a skunk’s main defence is to spray a foul smelling liquid at their aggressor. This spray can cause a burning sensation on the skin and if sprayed into the eyes, may cause temporary blindness.

To protect your pets from skunk encounters, keep a close eye on them when they’re outside during spring and summer. Skunks are often observed actively seeking lawn grubs during these seasons.

If you’re sprayed in the eyes, make sure you flush the area immediately with clean water and seek medical assistance. If your pet is sprayed by a skunk consider purchasing a skunk smell removal shampoo or making your own. Leave the shampoo or homemade mixture on your dog for five to ten minutes and proceed to rinse. The small may linger after the first wash and you may need to give your pet additional baths.

Ingredients to making a skunk spray removal mixture:

  • Four cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Quarter of a cup of baking soda
  • One tablespoon of liquid dish soap

If you’re worried about your pet’s health after it is sprayed by a skunk, contact your vet.

Protect your property

Skunks are expert diggers and may choose to burrow beneath a structure without a foundation, such as a shed, deck, or front porch. To avoid conflicts, ensure your home is in good repair and remove food, such as bird seed, pet food and fallen fruit, from outside your property.

Animal Services will not respond to resident calls to trap and relocate healthy skunks from their home territory, as doing so is illegal in Ontario.

If you find raccoons living in your garden, shed, or deck, consider taking the following actions for three days and nights in a row to encourage them to leave:

  • Place a bright light near the area the den is located.
  • Leave your deck lights.
  • Place a radio or speakers loudly playing music.
  • Soak rags or old towels in apple cider vinegar and place it near the area the den is located.

If skunks don’t leave your property, you may contact a wildlife removal company of your choice as a last resort. Animal Services doesn’t trap or relocate healthy raccoons from their home territory.

Report an ill or injured skunk

A skunk may be ill or injured if you notice:

  • It moving in circles, staggering, falling over or paralyzed
  • It approaching people or pets

If you suspect a skunk is sick, injured or orphaned, contact Animal Services at 905-896-5858.