How to safely remove a skunk from your cat trap

Step 1) Get to know your skunk. Sit calmly about 5 to ten feed away and be sure you are in its field of view.   Is your skunk bright eyed and alert?  Is it obsessively sniffing everything and obviously very nearsighted?  Or is it somewhere in between?  Be sure to talk to your skunk.  I’m not being silly here.  Talk softly to the skunk and explain your just there to let it out.  Continue to sit near your skunk until it seems relatively calm–the time frame for this can range from 5 to 15 minutes.  Considering how annoying it is to wash in ketchup (yes ketchup really does work) for 15 minutes or more to remove the smell of skunk from your skin and hair, this is time well spent not to mention the lingering order that will fill your home as you’ve had to traipse through it to get to your ketchup and shower….

Which brings us to Step 0)  Get a big bottle of ketchup and put it near whatever shower or bathtub is nearest to an exterior door.  Also plan your route through the house ahead of time to minimize contact with any surfaces.

Chances are your skunk let loose when the trap’s door slammed down but contrary to most urban legends, skunks prefer not to spray their stink and will do so only when they feel they threatened and think they have no alternative.  Skunks are also nocturnal creatures, so remember your skunk is probably up way past his or her bed time.

Now hopefully you were smart when you bought your trap and you got the kind that has a solid/non-mesh door.  If you have a trap with a mesh door go on to step 3.

Step 2) Once you have a feeling for your skunk and the skunk is somewhat calm, approach the trap closely from the door side, as the trick is to stay out of the skunk’s line of sight.  With your feet to each side of the door bend over and open the trap and be sure to stand still.  In the majority of cases your skunk will wander out, sniff your legs and make for the nearest bush or building edge.

Step 2b) If you skunk has NOT sprayed during the night but cowers in the corner and is super disinterested in leaving, gently close the door, back away from the cage and go find an old sheet or table cloth (the darker in color the better) or other piece of fabric that is larger than a bath towel.  Approach again from the door side and unfurl the sheet over the trap.  Adjust the fabric as needed so that most of the trap is covered except for the door.  Now open the door from the side or back of the trap and your skunk should readily exit.

Step 3) If you’re door is mesh or your skunk refuses to exit the trap you have several options based on your skunk.

  • If you skunk is very alert and sprayed when the trap door closed (trust me you will know based on smell alone if this is the case) just keep sitting and talking to your skunk.  Consider offering it another tin of the tasty cat food it polished off while waiting for you to notice it was in the trap.  Inch your way closer to your skunk until you’re able to open the door gently.  Your skunk doesn’t like sudden thumps, so slow and steady will get him or her out with minimal chance of spray.  You will still need to take a light ketchup shower, as proximity to the already sprayed musk has made you slightly stinky,
  • Try step 2 and/or step 2b and remain very very calm
  • If your skunk simply refuses to leave the trap, fashion yourself a stake with which to prop the door open and leave it to its own devices.
  • If during any of these steps the skunk does spray you, it’s your own fault for not being calm and patient.  Feel free to be a jerk and forcibly eject your skunk from the trap but you’re going to get sprayed and chances are you’ll take the hit to the face,  I hear that it is very painful, but I don’t know firsthand as I’ve yet to get sprayed by a skunk.  Although their noses do tickle one’s ankles a lot if you’re not wearing trousers when you release them.


And yes we’re back to posting after our long hiatus.  So many projects and so much work and so much to share.

Oh but I also took a vacation this spring!!!!

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