Skunks can make the most of any secluded, dark area to rest and breed during the warm summer months. They hunker down in underground dens and also use above ground retreats such as tree hollows, brush piles and the undersides of porches and buildings. As a result, many homeowners find skunks living beneath their homes, garages or sheds. Skunks are also adept diggers and will take up residence underneath culverts, outdoor drains or other underground structures.
From November – March, skunks will prepare for winter by searching out a suitable den for the season. They will either dig their own burrows or utilize existing ones that have been dug by other animals, rock crevices, culverts and the cavities of abandoned trees. These dens will provide shelter, food, protection from the elements and a place to nurse young. Skunks are not true hibernators and can easily awaken from their slumber to seek food or water during the winter.
During the spring, skunks may also seek shelter in sheds and crawl spaces beneath houses. This is the time of year when a female skunk will give birth to her kits. Young skunks will then move with their mother until they are weaned.
If you suspect a skunk has taken up residence under your deck, shed or house, remove it using the method that’s most appropriate for the situation. Once you’ve reclaimed the space, seal off access points into basements and other areas where skunks might enter. A barrier of moth flakes (naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene), liquid ammonia, tin foil or other nontoxic materials can discourage skunks from returning to the area.