Skunks, like several other wild animals, can thrive in suburban and urban areas. To avoid problems with skunks and to make your property less attractive to them, you should follow some basic rules.

  • Remain calm when encountering a skunk! Should you encounter a skunk, speak softly and move away in order to give it room to leave. Once you back away, the skunk will no longer feel threatened and will move off. If it doesn't, try clapping your hands and making some noise from a safe distance.
  • Secure your garbage! Skunks will raid open trash materials and compost piles. Secure your garbage in tough plastic containers with tight fitting lids and keep in secure buildings when possible. Take out trash the morning pick up is scheduled, not the previous night. Keep compost piles in containers designed to contain but vent the material.
  • Feed pets indoors! Outdoor feeding attracts skunks and other types of wild animals to your door!
  • Close off crawl spaces under porches and sheds! Skunks will use such areas for resting and raising young. Close shed and garage doors at night, and use chicken wire to keep skunks from digging under porches.
  • Protect your pet from being sprayed! Always turn on a flood light and check your yard for skunks before letting your dog out at night.
  • Keep bird feeder areas clean! Use feeders designed to keep seed off the ground as the seeds can attracts skunks. Remove feeders if skunks are seen regularly around your yard.
  • Educate your neighbors! Pass this information along since your efforts could be futile if neighbors are purposely or unintentionally providing food or shelter for skunks.


Skunks are an important natural resource in Massachusetts. They are classified as a furbearer species, for which an established regulated hunting season exists. If you are experiencing problems with, or have other questions regarding skunks, contact the nearest MassWildlife District office.  Further information on other native furbearing species is also available.