Outdoor PestsSkunks

Why Do Skunks Keep Coming Back?

Skunk In The Backyard

Keeping skunks away from yards is not an easy task because they are persistent animals and will keep returning. But, if you can figure out what attracts them first, it becomes easier to deal with them.

If you wonder why these animals will not stop invading your home, we will give you some thoughts to consider in this article. Let’s get started!


If you are dealing with a persistent skunk infestation problem, it may not be because your environment is untidy. Most times, it means something is attracting them to your dwellings. Among others, these can include:

  • Bird feeders and pet feeding trays.
  • Crumbs and leftovers littered across your compound.
  • Debris, garbage, and animal food in the yard.

These are some skunk-attracting items. Read the rest of the guide to learn more.

In the rest of the article, you will read about six major reasons skunks keep returning to the same place and how to frighten them away. Finally, you will find answers to some frequently asked questions about the infestation of these nocturnal animals.

6 Reasons Skunks Keep Coming Back

As opportunistic animals, skunks are drawn to anything that looks like food. They have an active nose that helps them spot potential food sources, even hidden ones.

So, to understand why skunks keep coming back to your yard, you must first locate what interests them. Here are a few pointers:

1. They Are Looking for a Winter Den

A Skunk In The Nest

Skunks are not known to hibernate, being naturally active animals. However, the winter is cold for everyone, including these nocturnal animals.

During winter, they enter a “torpor” state, similar to a deep sleep or dormant state. At this time, their body metabolism slows down. Also, their body temperature and breathing reduce.

The torpor state helps them conserve their energy and allows them to survive without hunting for food in the winter. As winter draws near, skunks seek a safe place to make a den.

Since they do not climb or jump, skunks prefer to stay closer to the ground. Like rabbits, they may burrow a hole or inhabit an existing one. So, skunks may become attracted to your yard if you have crawl spaces under your porch or front steps.

Other likely den spots are sheds, wood piles, and other openings in your house. To permanently shut the door against skunks, you must board up some of these open holes with plywood.

2. They Are Seeking Potential Food Sources

Skunk Eating Food

Skunks are omnivorous animals, meaning they eat plants and meat. Edible plants like sunflower seeds, small grasses, leaves, and fruits are some things that attract these nocturnal animals.

They also eat larvae from animals like grasshoppers, crickets, and beetles. When very hungry, skunks can eat full-grown animals like rats, lizards, and frogs.

Skunks often dig wet soil for grubs, earthworms, and other ground insects. So, the presence of skunks digging through your yard may mean you are over-watering your lawn. Other signs of skunk presence are small holes with loose soil and torn grass.

3. Debris Attract Skunks

Skunks In A Dead Tree Trunk

Skunks seek a place to hide when they are not looking for food. So, having debris around your house creates a haven for these animals.

An unkempt landscape of overgrown bushes and shrubs is a good hiding spot for these animals. A tell-tale sign of their presence around your greenery is the presence of shallow holes in your surrounding.

So, it is advisable to trim your lawn and nearby bushes and clear out the trimmings, to prevent a pileup. Clear out other debris like old toys, tires, stones, and wood piles.

4. Skunks Love Animal Food

Dry Pet Food In A Plastic Tray Outside On The Street.

Skunks have a more active nose than humans and typically move with their noses to the ground. So, they can tell if you have pet treats, especially if you feed your pets outside.

Skunks are attracted to the crumbs and leftovers littered across your compound. They could trace the smell and come for a bite. So, if possible, feed pets indoors or clean up properly after feeding them outside.

5. Garbage Bins Attract Skunks

Skunk (Mephitis Mphitis) Walks Past Raccoon (Procyon Lotor) In Trash

The smell of rotting garbage from your house can attract skunks from miles away. As food is often scarce during winter, skunks are happy to rummage in your trash for scraps and leftovers.

It may be challenging to relocate your garbage bins outside your property, but you can make them less attractive to skunks.

Keep all garbage bins and trash cans tightly shut and far from the main house. You can stack them far away, by the fence. That way, hungry skunks searching for food in the trash won’t find entry into your home through an open door.

Storing garbage in metal bins with tight lids also makes it difficult for skunks to gain access.

6. Skunks Love Bird Feeders

Garden Bird Feeder With Seeds

Just as they love to snack on crumbs from your pet treats, skunks are attracted to bird seeds too. Birds are messy eaters, and when they feed, crumbs tend to drop to the ground from their feeder.

So, if you have a birdfeeder in your backyard, you may want to move them around to deter skunks. Keeping the bird feeder on trees or structures far from your house may help.

But, this only offers partial protection, as it keeps skunks away from the house and not the compound. To completely drive them away from your home, take your bird feeders into the house at night.

Skunks are very active at night when they forage for food and shelter. They will go somewhere else when they come around your yard, looking for food without success.


If you are dealing with a persistent skunk infestation problem, it may not be because your environment is untidy. Most times, it means something is attracting them to your dwellings. Understanding how these animals operate is the first step to completely eradicating them.

This article highlighted some things that attract skunks and ways to keep them from returning. These include birdfeeders and garbage bins in the yard. You may want to watch out for food crumbs, debris, outgrown bushes, and lawns. Edible plants like sunflower seeds, small grasses, leaves, and fruits also attract these nocturnal animals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Can You Drive Skunks Away From Your Yard?

First, follow the steps in this article to remove all things that attract skunks into your yard. Then, use deterrents like old human clothes, mothballs, and ammonia-soaked rags to drive them away. However, these deterrents should not be substitutes for keeping your yard tidy.

Are Skunks Dangerous?

Skunks are not generally dangerous, but it is unwise to provoke them on sight. While skunks will not harm you on sight, they can be an annoying or irritating sight. For example, they can also mess with your yard when they come around.

Why Do Skunk Holes Look the Same?

Skunks typically dig two holes, one for finding food and the other for shelter. Although these holes are about eight inches wide, they go very deep. You can identify their holes by the small tufts of hair they leave in front of these holes.

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