SKUNKS: Wildlife in the Town/Village of East Rochester

SKUNKS: Wildlife in the Town/Village of East Rochester
Animal Control
/ Categories: Animal Control

SKUNKS: Wildlife in the Town/Village of East Rochester

Role and Responsibilities of our Town/Village and our Community Members

Wildlife in the Town/Village of East Rochester

Who has Jurisdiction over the control of Native Wildlife in East Rochester?

The Town/Village of East Rochester and the Animal Control Office is not involved in the population or disease management of native wildlife, this falls under the jurisdiction of the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Native Wildlife Concerns in the Town/Village of East Rochester

A number of different native annimals are of concern in our small community.  Here are some of them:

skunk picture


fox picture


oppossum picture


rabbit picture


woodchuck picture


chipmonk picture


raccoon picture


squirrel picture



The SKUNK is the main concern/issue



Skunks are house cat-sized mammals native to North America. There are several types of skunks. The striped skunk is the most common, found in nearly all of the continental United States and the southern half of Canada. It is mostly black with white on top of the head and neck and extending down the back, usually separating into two white stripes. Spotted skunks are the second most common, ranging from the southeastern United States to the northwestern Midwest and slightly west of the Mississippi River. Spotted skunks are smaller and black with white spots or short white streaks.

Skunks inhabit a variety of habitats including old fields, pastures, and woodland edges in rural and urban areas. They are nocturnal and become seasonally dormant in winter. They den in thick brush piles or woodchuck holes, and under decks and porches. Mating takes place during late February and early March, and an average of six blind and helpless younglings are born between late April and early June. About seven weeks later, the younglings begin to venture out with the female and are able to spray musk. Young skunks usually disperse during the fall of their first year.

Skunks are omnivorous but especially fond of insects, earthworms, small amphibians, mushrooms, small mammals, as well as fruits and nuts when seasonally available. They also will eat pet food and garbage if readily available. Skunks may damage lawns when they dig for grubs and insect larvae. When frightened or attacked by pets and predators, when interacting with other skunks, or when dying, they discharge a pungent spray that is nauseating to many.

What to do - Remove Food Sources

  • Remove any aromatic garbage from your property and use a skunk-proof garbage can.
  • If you compost, make sure to mix compost with soil or wood ash to make the compost less attractive. Additionally, if you compost food scraps, bury the food scraps at least eight inches into the ground, and cover with a wire mesh hardware cloth, and at least place a heavy object over the hardware cloth to prevent digging.
  • Reduce habitat for rodents and chipmunks as they are a source of food for skunks and share many food sources. Seal small holes and cracks around your home and outbuildings.
  • Skunks will eat bird seed. Take bird feeders down, put them away at night, or at least use bird feeders that capture fallen seed to reduce the amount on the ground.
  • Sweep up seed spilled by birds under feeders as fallen seed attracts skunks and rodents.
  • Store birdseed, flower seeds, and other foods that might attract skunks in skunk-proof containers such as garbage cans or totes in your garage or shed. Make sure they are tightly sealed, even if they are stored in a garage or shed.

How do I remove skunks from my yard and out from under my porch?

  • Remove wood, rock and debris piles, or any other coverings that would attract foraging skunks.
  • Cover window wells with plastic or metal mesh covers.
  • Close off the space beneath porches, decks, and outbuildings to keep skunks from denning there. Skunks will dig their own dens, but will also use spaces under sheds, decks, porches, trailers, and crawl spaces if available.
  • Skunk-proof these areas using heavy gauge galvanized hardware cloth
    • Cover openings with wire mesh, sheet metal, or concrete.
    • To prevent digging, bury hardware cloth or weave fences 2 inches below the ground
    • Bend the mesh at a right angle and extend it at least 12 inches away or outward from the location
    • Dig underground a few inches and attach hardware cloth to the lower edge of the structure.
    • If you have looser, sandy soil, increase the depth and length of the mesh. In northern climates where skunks have more motivation to find shelter, you may need to bury the mesh deeper.

How can I keep them out of my garden?

Skunks are opportunistic omnivores. Gardens provide several appetizing options for them. A good way to keep them away is to make the garden less ‘tasty’ and to make it seem less welcoming.

  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper on and around vegetable gardens and reapply after rain. Mammals do not enjoy “spicy” flavors and they can be an effective deterrent.
    • You can also adhere the cayenne to the plants with petroleum jelly products if you are worried about wind. Be careful not to touch your eyes or face after applying cayenne pepper!
  • Install motion-sensing lights in your yard. Motion-sensing lights can scare away wildlife.
  • Playing a talk radio station may scare wildlife and keep them away from gardens.
  • Alternatively, skunks may not like citrus smells. Try laying lemon and orange peels in your garden to see if it deters them. Be aware, however, that this may attract other species of wildlife.
  • You can soak old rags in ammonia and place under decks and porches. Skunks will be deterred by the smell and leave the rags alone. However, use caution if you have children or pets as ammonia is toxic to humans and animals and can be dangerous if swallowed or inhaled. Note that ammonia evaporates, and you will need to re-soak the rags once they dry out to continue to deter skunks.

How to properly handle garbage to avoid animal problems

Wild animals are constantly in search of food, so proper sanitation and management of food sources, including garbage, is essential.

  • Keep your garbage indoors until trash pickup or,
  • if garbage is stored outside, use wildlife-proof garbage containers that are anchored securely, for example, to a tree, pole, or cement pad to keep them from being moved or displaced.
  • Place garbage at the curb the morning of or near the time of pick up rather than the night before.
  • Have your trash hauled away regularly to a licensed landfill.


Composting is extremely beneficial to minimizing the food waste that goes into landfills and the results can provide a nutrient rich soil for gardens. However, if it is not done correctly, compost piles can attract a variety of wildlife species from opossum to coyotes, to bears. Follow the recommendations below to avoid attracting wildlife to your property and inadvertently creating a ‘pest’.

When composting, use three times as many browns (dead leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, and low-quality paper products) as greens (food scraps). This minimizes smells and speeds up the composting process.

Regularly turn your pile so materials compost more quickly.

Compost fresh scraps in an enclosed container that would be challenging for wildlife to open. Tumblers are especially challenging for animals to open.

Do not add meat scraps or bones to your compost pile. You can put meat and bones in the trash, freeze them and bring them to a drop-off when you have enough, or bury them by pit-composting or trench-composting.

To keep rodents and smaller animals out, line your compost system with 1/4'' wire-mesh hardware cloth.

Proper composting should not attract wildlife. Regularly mixing food scraps with dry, brown materials like wood shavings, leaves, shredded paper, wood chips, sawdust, or dried flowers/stems/stalks helps speed decomposition and active composting, minimizing food attractants.

What are other nearby Municipalities doing about their skunk population

The Towns of Pittsford and Perinton, currently do not provide any services related to the management and removal of skunks. It is the responsibility of the resident to have the skunks removed.

The Town of Penfield will supply residents with traps at a cost of $25.00 per trap. Traps are available on a first come first served basis for weekends only. Staff will pick up the traps and relocate the skunk to an alternate location.

The Village of Fairport is covered by the Town of Perinton.

Wildlife Removal Plan

The Town/Village of East Rochester has teamed up with the following organization to manage the removal of skunks.

  • Garfield Nuisance Wildlife
  • American Wildlife Management

For additional information on wildlife management please visit the follow links




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