Skunk Handling

Identification | Biology | Damage ID | Management | Handling



When rescuing skunks from window wells and garages, on‐site release is the preferred option. Be sure you and neighbors keep doors closed, pets restrained, and children away from the area. Release the skunk in an out‐of-the‐way area with ground cover. If possible, release the skunk close to nightfall.


Translocation of skunks is not advised because they are a rabies vector species. In some situations, translocation may be restricted, so check state and local regulations.


Carbon dioxide is the preferred method of euthanasia for skunks. Skunks are tolerant to CO2, so it may take up to 20 minutes to die. Observe the chest for motion for at least 3 minutes to ensure that breathing has ceased. Skunks have been known to spray during asphyxiation. Often, their sphincters loosen, allowing some fluid to release.

Where odor is not a concern, a .22‐caliber, rim‐fire firearm can be used where allowed and safe. The shot usually is directed to the head. Some operators use “low” power ammunition such as .22‐caliber “CB cap” or “Short” rounds. An extremely intense odor event almost always will be associated with the shot. Other methods may be preferable. Take a certified firearm safety course and follow firearm safety instructions at all times.


Consult your state regulations regarding disposal of carcasses.