Since skunks are generally only active at night, you will probably never see them. You may smell their spray if they have had a confrontation with a pet or if males are fighting over a female. If you smell a skunk odor in late winter, it means at least one is nearby. You should take action to prevent pregnant females from nesting around your house.
You can limit potential den sites by trimming shrubs and stacking firewood tightly. If you have fruit trees, remove fallen fruit quickly to avoid attracting skunks. Place tight-fitting lids on your garbage cans, and do not place food in compost bins. If you leave food outside for pets, bring it inside in the evening to avoid drawing skunks toward your home.
The best way to prevent skunks from making their home under a porch or building is to screen it off. Block off all potential entrances under your house, mobile home, shed, porch, or deck with ¼-inch mesh hardware cloth. Small mesh will also keep out rats and mice. Skunks will try hard to get into spaces where they can create dens, so be sure to make the fittings tight. If there is soil underneath the entrance, bury the wire six inches deep so that skunks will not be able to dig under it.
If a skunk is already living under a building, you have to be sure it has left before you block off the entrance. You can find out if it has left by sprinkling a 1/8-inch layer of flour in front of the entrance. Check it soon after dark. If you see footprints, that means the skunk has left. You can also place a floodlight near the entrance to encourage it to leave the den location.
If you think there may be kits, or baby skunks, in the den, you can install a one-way swinging gate that will allow them to leave, but will not allow another skunk to enter. You can build a gate by attaching ½-inch mesh hardware cloth to the top of the frame and leaving it loose on the other three sides. Make it larger than the opening so that it can only swing outward.
If the kits are not yet able to walk, you may need to remove them by other means. In that case, you should contact a professional wildlife control company, such as Anderson Wildlife Control, to handle the problem so that you can avoid getting sprayed or bitten. We can remove the skunks safely and humanely and relocate them so that they will no longer be a nuisance.