Skunks are cute, aren’t they?
The sweet rodent face and a cat-like body can fool anyone to think they’re
inoffensive. And sure, they mostly are…
UNTIL THEY START SPRAYING THEIR PHEROMONES AROUND!
No secret why most people want them as far away from their home as possible. This
often includes building fences and nets to block them off.
But this raises a question: can skunks climb fences and walls?
The question will surprise you. These animals are way more versatile than they
Do Skunks Climb Fence?
Yes, Skunks can climb fences, walls, trees, and many other things even though they look like they can’t.
In fact, skunks are among the poorest climbers among critters. Compared to
possums, raccoons, and squirrels, they will rarely go up a tree.
But that doesn’t mean they CAN’T. On the contrary, they actually do so very often
in search of food. And whenever they feel like it.
There’s a lot to know about skunks and their ability to climb, though. Below, we go
over the why, how, and strategies you can use to keep them from doing so.
Skunk Species That Cant Climb Fence
Believe it or not, skunks come in many shapes and sizes. Some of them are not the
most adept climbers. Knowing this will give you an idea of whether you should
worry about skunks climbing your fence.
The most popular BY FAR! As the name says, it boasts two stripes on their back coming directly from their neck in a V-shape.
These are the BIGGEST type of skunk you’ll encounter. A mature male can reach
over 15 pounds and be larger than most house cats.
It is rarely a climber, though. It has nails, but they are primarily for digging.
Will it climb a fence or tree? Possible if it feels hungry enough.
The spotted skunk is white-striped as well, but instead of having a V-shape, these
stripes are all over its body.
A spotted skunk measures between 5 and 15 inches long and weighs around 2 to 5
This is a way smaller skunk than the striped species. Because of that, it’s a way
better climber, as it also has smaller nails, it can use to grab onto wood and
You can say a hog-nosed skunk is between a striped and a spotted skunk in size and
appearance. However, it has only one striped from the top of its head to the tail,
covering the entire back.
This skunk can weigh up to 6 pounds and be as long as 15 inches.
It is not a climber in the slightest. The long claws and broad snouts make it more of
a digger skunk. It rarely climbs anything.
While these are small skunks measuring not more than 8 or 10 inches and rarely
weigh more than 5 pounds, and they seldom climb things.
To identify hooded skunks, look for extra-fur in their bodies. A hooded skunk is
But also has distinctive white stripes on the sides that end in the tail.
The nails are mostly for digging, and their legs are really short. So seeing a hood
skunk climb is extremely rare.
How to keep Skunks Away?
#1. High Fences Will Keep Them Off
Now you’re more familiar with skunks…
They climb, but not all of them do.And even if they climb, they will RARELY do so.
That’s why making your garden fences HIGH enough will be the best strategy to
keep them from climbing it.
What is high for a skunk? Well, anywhere over 6 feet should be enough.
The same happens with trees, shrubs, and any other plant around they could use to
climb. Even though they don’t do that every day, letting things grow larger than 6
feet could be a great idea.
#2. Skunk Can Also DIG!
You shouldn’t worry about skunks climbing over fences and other structures. What
you should worry about is skunks digging their way into your house.
Not only do they love living in burrows, but they also dig deep and far in search of
food and trying to reach new areas.
A desperate or curious skunk could easily dig from one side of a fence to the other.
It won’t hesitate to trespass and invade your home if it feels like it.
Make those fences/walls DEEP ENOUGH. How much is deep enough?
At least 2 feet (if more, then better).
They May Build Burrows in Your Garden!
Because skunks LOVE DIGGING, you will also have to be careful with them opening
burrows in your garden.
This could be ANYWHERE, though. Not only your garden or backyard, but close to
your house: a patio, garden bed, and pretty much anywhere with soft soil.
Best way to avoid this? Keep all those areas inaccessible.
Killing them is rarely a solution when that happens. So you’ll have to scare them off
and block their access to your home if they’ve already built their burrows.
Skunks are sensitive to noise. Keeping something loud in the garden where
they could come from would be an excellent idea.
#3. Close Off Basements and Storage Sheds
In case they get into your home, they may not go directly to the burrow-digging.
Instead, they could decide your basement is a better alternative. Or if you have a
storage shed, that would be even better.
Remember, skunks love cozy places. And for them, closed-off areas with little
movement and noise like these are nearly PERFECT.
How to avoid them from getting into your basement or shed?
YOU CLOSE IT OFF! COMPLETELY!
Blocking access to your basement is often simple. But keeping your storage sheds
closed off is often harder, especially if the shed is a few decades old.
One great solution would be to block any area they could dig into (like the
underside of a shed).
Keeping windows and door closed is also effective.
#4. Make the Outdoors Uninviting
If you know WHERE the skunk may get into your home, then making that area
uninviting would be a perfect idea.
How can you do that? Here are some ideas:
- Clean the yard from lumber, posts,stumps, piles of rock and sand, plus anything a skunk could find enticing.
- Use mesh fences, cloths, boards, and other objects to close off small holes and other entrances skunks could use.
- Skunks don’t like too much light at night, so keep the area around your fences and garden well-illuminated will deter them.
- Don’t hesitate to use critter repellents or skunk deterrents that come in either liquid or granular form. They’re pretty effective when used around the area you want to make less inviting.
While not necessarily related to skunks climbing fences, these things could prevent them from getting close, which also avoids them climbing.
#5. Don’t Leave Food Out!
We could add this in the previous tip, but it’s also worth mentioning by itself.
Why? Because the MOST LIKELY reason skunks are climbing into your home is because they’re sensing food or already RELATE YOUR HOUSE with food.
Skunks eat all kinds of things: grubs, caterpillars, crickets, worms, larvae, spiders, slugs, grasshoppers, and many other insects.
They also like meat from mice, shrews, voles, and small rats.
You may also find them chewing on fruits and greens like berries, grapes, grasses,
leaves, branches, and some types of herbs.
Lastly, you may also find them searching in trash bags.
TO PREVENT ALL OF THIS: Keep your garden, backyard, front yard, and general
outdoors of your house clean.
It doesn’t matter if it’s food for your pets or insects– GET RID OF IT ALL!
#6. Bring Critter-Deterring Plants
Some plants are natural deterrents for mammals. These could come in pretty handy
to keep the skunks out of your home.
PLUS: They are cute enough to work as ornaments, so your garden will look GREAT.
However, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone.
Here are some of these plants:
- Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
It is considered a perennial plant, often classified as a weed because it is invasive.
But when you control where it grows (surrounding your garden fences), it will very
likely keep all outside critters away.
The effectiveness comes from a unique chemical liquid it produces when the hairs
break. This chemical is unpleasant for the skunks, sometimes even causing physical
Your skunks will try the best to avoid this plant. So you can use it as a deterrent
without drawbacks (just be careful with pets and children as it can be irritating).
- Summer Squash (Cucurbita pepo)
Just like skunks don’t like stinging nettles, they will also hate the summer squash.
The leaves and branches have chemical-producing hairs that can irritate their skin
and thus highly effective at keeping them away.
Most types of squash have this ability, but summer squash is the go-to option. It is
an annual plant, though, so it will require yearly replanting for it to work.
LASTLY: You’ll have the vegetable ripe in spring to eat – so it’s a win-win!
- Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis)
Unlike the plants above, this flower is more of a smell deterrent. Called Crown Imperial for the bulb-like bloom, it can easily make any garden a lot more attractive. Skunks will get away from it because the flowers produce a particular scent, very unpleasant.
While humans can withstand it, most other mammals will not.
It blooms every spring, and the flower stays for several months. When that happens, skunks WON’T get into your home at all.
- Wild Cucumber (Echinocystis lobata)
Cucumber is tasty. Wild cucumber is not. The fruit is actually inedible and makes for
excellent critter-deterrent addition to your garden.
The reason? Its branches and fruits have spines that skunks ABHOR. Suppose it is
due to their evolution. Skunks learned to get away from them (who knows how
many got stung harshly in the past).
It grows almost anywhere and spreads really fast. You can also grow it on trellises
and as a vine if necessary, sometimes even growing beside ponds, making it a practical choice.
- Daffodil (Narcissus)
Almost no mammal eats daffodil because it is TOXIC. Probably one of the best plants to have in your garden if you want to keep critters away.
Given the toxicity, they are instant deterrents of skunks and other animals. But they also, come with that beautiful yellow color – who doesn’t want their garden shining bright?
What’s even better, daffodils are easy to grow, spread fast, and bloom beautifully every year.
- Common Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Believe it or not, skunks are SCARED of this plant. The prickly leaves will actually spook them.
The reason? Those bright-red berries are actually toxic. So skunks hate them because they can be dangerously poisonous.
You’ll have a blast because the plant grows like a bush or small tree. It grows almost anywhere and thrives even in dry areas.
- Most Mint Plants
Almost every plant with a strong scent (lavender, peppermint, catnip, etc.) will not
be the most effective but may help keep them away.
Planting them or using the scent of these species could keep skunks away. You will
need to spray consistently for it to work, though.
The good thing about mints is how fast they grow and how beautiful they are as
small shrubs. Especially in the blooming season, they certainly stand out.
#7. Pets and Predator Scents Always Help!
Skunks HATE animals larger than them.
Even though they have arguably one of the most effective defense mechanisms, skunks ALWAYS try to avoid predators.
This includes foxes, pumas, bobcats, mountain lions, bears, coyotes, and wolves.
For that reason, animals like dogs and cats can also keep them away.
Spreading the scent of predators in your garden is very effective for that reason.
So, can skunks climb?
The short answer is YES.
The long answer? Only if you let them. Put our tips above into work, and you’ll NEVER worry about skunks coming to yourhome (or climbing y our fences).