Can Skunks Climb? Preventing Skunks From Getting Into Your House

Aryan Khanna
Dec 26, 2022 By Aryan Khanna
Originally Published on Oct 22, 2021
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
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A mammal and a member of the weasel family.

A skunk is one such animal that people try to keep from entering into their homes or backyards.

One can find skunks all across America except in desert areas. These nasty little animals are of four types. Some of them are mostly ground dwellers but some of them can easily climb trees as well as a fence.

Skunks are animals spotted in the wild but also spotted in sub-urban areas which have even a small amount of greenery around. This makes us wonder what the motive is behind a skunk taking time to climb over a wall or a fenced boundary.

Skunks can be regarded as opportunists who are attracted by fruits on a tree inside your property. If it thinks that it is within its range to get a grasp of that fruit, it will enter your property.

At the same time, other than fruits, skunks are also attracted by any leftover food kept outside or even any leftover extra pet food.

They can destroy your yard once they enter it, digging holes all over it using their sharp claws. The answer to whether a skunk can climb a fence depends upon the species of skunk we are discussing.

If you enjoy this article, why not also read about what skunks eat and how to get rid of skunks here on Kidadl?

Are skunks good at climbing?

Out of four different types of skunks, if it's an eastern spotted skunk, it can easily climb over a fence. Even western spotted skunks can climb fences but eastern ones are said to be the most agile ones. Spotted skunks are the smallest and fastest-moving species of skunks known in America.

Four types of skunks known in America are the striped skunk, the spotted skunk, the hog-nosed skunk, and the hooded skunk.

The striped skunk is the largest of all skunks; it can weigh up to 14 lb (6 kg), relatively heavier than other skunk species. You can identify a striped skunk from its appearance; its body color is black with long white stripes on its nose, also called a snout.

It also sports a V-neck mark on its back.

Owing to its genetically long nails, it cannot climb fences but it is adept at climbing trees as high as a chimney. Next up we have the hog-nosed skunks; they aren't as large as striped skunks but are certainly larger than other skunk species.

Hog-nosed skunks may weigh up to 6 lb (3 kg) but are not regarded as skunks that often climb fences or trees.

These skunks have long claws and snouts and they cannot climb well.

They are more famous for digging. The third type of skunk is known as a hooded skunk; it is often confused with striped skunks due to its appearance but can be differentiated on the basis of its tail as a hooded skunk's tail is longer and its fur is softer.

These hooded skunks usually possess two thin, long white stripes that run on their back and tail, although some of them have just one thick white stripe and a split white tail.

Tufts of fur present around their neck distinguishes them from all other types of skunks as it is a unique feature of theirs.

Hooded skunks are usually not the ones entering your yard as they are poor climbers, and they mostly dwell on the ground. The last known species of skunks are spotted skunks; these are the best at climbing fences and trees.

These spotted skunks are of two types: the eastern ones and the western ones.

One can visually distinguish between the two types easily as western spotted skunks have broad white stripes on the back of their body along with a white tip on their tails. On the other hand, eastern spotted skunks have broken white stripes along their back complemented by a black tip on the tail.

They are the smallest and fastest of all skunks, and eastern spotted skunks are more capable of climbing over a fence than western ones.

Do skunks climb on roofs?

Most skunks cannot climb trees or a fence, so it is unlikely that skunks climb roofs, but the eastern spotted skunk is capable enough to get on your roof after climbing up a tree. Long nails of skunks do not allow them to climb up on roofs but there is always a slight possibility that they can.

A skunk can climb up on your roof if it senses the smell of food or sees some food that you might have kept on your roof for a bird.

There are high chances that if you are getting the smell of skunk oil from your attic or the chimney, a skunk has probably climbed on your roof and sprayed its oil.

The odor is unbearable and would be a great task to deal with.

Skunk on tree.

Do raised garden beds keep animals out?

People who set up a vegetable garden in their backyard often resort to techniques of raised gardening in order to protect their produce from insects and animals. Over the years, raised gardens have turned out to be an effective way of keeping an animal like rabbits from destroying your produce.

Not only pests or animals like rabbits can be kept out using a raised garden but also unwanted weeds can be prevented from growing near your vegetables. At the same time, raised gardens make it easier for the owner to take care of plants.

It is fairly easy to build a raised garden; all you need are some wooden planks, stones, bricks or even concrete blocks would do. For the purpose of keeping out small animals, the raised garden bed should be at least 2 in (5 cm) off the ground.

Additionally, you can also protect your produce from burrowing pests by adding a layer of mesh fencing at the very bottom.

This will deny insects any access to plants. Raising garden beds can be an effective way of keeping an animal from destroying your hours of work.

Can skunks climb fences?

Yes, some skunks like eastern spotted skunks are able to climb fences using their lightweight body and padded feet. They are able to climb over a fence as high as 6 ft (1.8 m) if they put in considerable effort.

Usually though, you won't see skunks climbing up such high fences as it is work for them. The eastern spotted skunk, which is capable of climbing over such high fences, is gradually reducing in number with their population status marked as Vulnerable.

As skunks can jump, they make use of snouts and long claws to climb over a fence, which often is a tough task.

This becomes even more difficult if the fence is made of a smooth surface such as concrete pavers or metal fence panels. It is relatively easier for skunks to climb over fences made of wood or wire mesh or even chain link panels as they can put their sharp claws to better use.

It would be wise to build a fence of smooth metal rather than wood if your area is often attacked by skunks.

Why do skunks climb fences?

A skunk is often considered a pest. Skunks spread foul odor with their oil but at the same time prevent your house from being infested with other pests.

You might not even feel the need to call pest control any more. Your backyard has been kept in check of insects by a skunk! Skunks seem to be nocturnal animals at times as they are usually seen sleeping in the daytime and awake at night.

It is at nighttime that skunks move around, usually in search of food. They climb fences or enter gardens to eat grasshoppers, yellowjacket wasp nests, weevils, mice, voles, cutworms, slugs, lawn grubs, hornworms, Japanese beetles, and spiders.

Once these skunks understand that they are getting an assured supply of food from your home, they may come back again and again.

Although it might seem good that your property is being kept clean of any sort of pests, skunks can create holes in the ground of up to 4 in (10 cm) while trying to find these pests. These holes are a big reason why you might be wanting to keep skunks off your property.

Any leftover food kept outside or some pet animal food left uneaten can be a feast for these nocturnal animals.

Skunks are also known for digging underground dens for themselves in the basement of a house. Contact wildlife removal or pest control for help trapping them in their underground dens or holes.

How do you keep skunks out of the yard?

There are a list of tips mentioned below that can help keep skunks out of your yard but not every tip is applicable for every yard. It will take some time to use the mentioned tips and then figure out which is the most effective one for you.

You can firstly install a fence at least 6 ft (1.8 m) high made of smooth metal rather than one made of wood or chain link.

Make sure not to leave any gaps as a skunk can get into very tight crawl spaces. Next, you can install motion detected sprinklers or motion detected lights that will sprinkle water and throw light at skunks, respectively.

Skunks prefer the dark and will run away from your yard if lights fall on them; sprinklers will shower water on these animals and they will immediately escape.

You can also install solar-powered red eye lights; they get charged during the daytime and turn on at night. Skunks will assume the red eyes to be predators and won't enter your garden.

Some other ways you can stop skunks from getting in your yard include removing any objects placed near the fence which can help skunks in climbing on the fence.

Installing electric fencing over the fence is also an effective way of keeping skunks from entering your property. Every time a skunk tries to climb the fence, it will receive a light shock and will then refrain from climbing the fence.

Make sure to trim any tree branches near your fence so that a skunk cannot climb trees in order to enter your property.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for can skunks climb,then take a look at how far can a skunk spray or striped skunk facts.

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Written by Aryan Khanna

Bachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

Aryan Khanna picture

Aryan KhannaBachelor of Business Administration specializing in Marketing

A dedicated and hardworking content writer currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Management Studies from St. Xavier's University, Kolkata. Aryan aims to gain corporate exposure and enhance his skills while creating well-researched and engaging content that is SEO-friendly. Aryan is a talented individual who puts in the effort to overcome any obstacle in his way.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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