The First Thing You Should Do If A Skunk Gets In Your Home

For those who live in the suburbs, it can be easy to forget about all the animals that could be in your backyard. If you forget to close a window or leave the garage door open overnight, one particularly smelly neighbor might wander into your home. At first glance, you might think it's a stray cat, but upon closer inspection (or a good whiff), you'll realize there's a skunk in your living room. Skunks tend to be skittish and non-aggressive, so they don't often end up inside homes. When they do, they can raise a stink in more ways than one. What should you do to get rid of the animal and avoid being sprayed? Open the nearest exit door, give the skunk some space, and wait for them to leave on their own. 

To be fair, the very first thing you need to do is remain calm. The worst possible scenario would be for you to startle the skunk, which could cause it to panic and spray the inside of your home or try to attack you, a family member, or a pet. It's much easier to prevent an attack than it is to get rid of the smell of skunk spray

Provide an exit and step away

Once you've calmed down, secure all pets and family members in a separate room from the skunk. Some skunks can spray almost 20 feet, so keep your distance if you want to avoid being doused. If you notice the animal hissing, stamping its feet, puffing its tail, or lunging at you, these are signs that it is feeling threatened and you should back away immediately. While skunks are usually harmless, they could carry rabies, so never try to grab a skunk with your hands. Instead, open the nearest door, garage door, or window leading to the outside. If the skunk is feeling cornered, you may need to open the door slowly from the outside. Don't provoke the animal or try to herd it outdoors; be patient and let it move on its own. Because skunks are nocturnal, it may not want to go outside in broad daylight but should leave after dusk. 

If your skunk seems sick, injured, rabid, or isn't leaving the room on its own, call your local animal control or wildlife removal service. These experts should be able to safely trap the animal and take it away for further care or testing if needed. In the future, you can keep skunks out of your yard and home by tightly closing garbage lids, bringing in pet food at night, and removing potential dens like brush piles or access to crawl spaces.