Are There Skunks Living Under Your House?

In this article, you will learn about the skunks that take up residency under a house and you may not even know they are there. Another word for them is polecats.

Here is what happened to us.

We were surprised to find we had them. The signs were all there, but we did not know what we were looking for. After reading this article you will be better advised.

Every so often when we would arrive home there was the fragrant aroma of a skunk in the area of the door to the house from inside the garage.

This went on for several years. There was never any aroma anywhere else in the house. It was always in the same area inside the house.

The smell made no sense at all. The garage door was 20 feet from the closest outside wall. I would look around the house and then the aroma would dissipate before I found anything. This went on for several years.

There was never the full smell, just a whiff every so often.

The way we found the source of the problem was when the HVAC unit needed to be replaced. We had three repairmen out to give us an estimate. One of the repairman that came out said to me, “I think there is a cat living under your house.” My attitude was “it was not paying rent, so get it out of there.” So, I went looking as to how the cat could get in.

We live in a brick home with a concrete foundation and no apparent access points. It turns out that on the inside wall of the crawl space there was a hole about two feet long and six inches wide going down then turning to the outside.

The hole on the outside was two feet by two feet tapering down to approximately ten inches around. We could not see under the deck and, thus, did not see the hole. The hole went down two feet and under the house footer. It then went up and into the crawl space.

In the process of looking to see what was living under the house, we found their winter home.

It was directly under the steps from the garage going into the house. Duh! It was forty feet from the skunks’ access hole. There was some black and white hair in a corner next to some concrete blocks.

We removed all evidence of them.

  • We then poured eight 80-pound bags or 640 pounds of concrete in the hole to keep the critters OUT. (See the picture to the right.)
  • New dirt was brought in to finish filling the hole and new plastic ground cover was stapled down under the deck.
  • We then installed new one-inch opening plastic lattice around the deck. This replaced the 3-inch that was installed several years ago. We believe they got in by going behind the steps and crawling past the support boards.
  • We also added 1/4-inch mesh galvanized wire behind the lattice to keep all but the smallest critters out.

NO AROMATIC SMELLS THIS YEAR! HOORAY!!

It turns out skunks are really good at digging. They have some large front claws, but cannot climb. Can you imagine an adult man under a house in a 3-foot high space, face to face with a skunk? Me neither!
This picture is me, minus the skunk! There were no skunks home when I went looking under the house.

By the way as to the HVAC replacement, only one of the three repairmen identified some duct problems. Guess who got the contract?

I hope this article helps someone find out if they have unwelcome guests living under their house. Also,how to get rid of them and keep them out.

If you think the occupant is home, call your local animal control and have them verify the pest is gone. Better them than you.

 

Dave Altman
 

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