Window well skunks. What do I mean by that phrase? In short, I am referring to skunks that fall into window wells. While window wells are made to allow light into the basement (or in the case of egress windows, exit from the basement), window wells also make excellent pit traps for skunks. This post is about how to remove skunks that become trapped in window wells.
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Removing Window Well Skunks
I am assuming you have discovered the skunk’s presence before it has died. If the skunk is still alive, you have several options to remove it safely and in an odor free manner (most of the time). Always follow property safety rules (gloves, old clothing, etc.) and obey state and local wildlife laws.
Option 1. Lower a skunk-sized trap into the window well with a chain or rope. Size can be 7- by 7- by 28-inches. Smaller traps can work depending on the whether the skunk is a full adult or a juvenile. Before lowering the trap into the window well, be sure that it has a cover. Otherwise, use a box trap (solid wall trap). Baiting is optional because the skunk will likely want to find a dark place to hide, but it won’t hurt. This method can work surprising quickly.
Option 2. Create a ladder. Take some 2 x 4’s and staple some 1/4-inch hardware cloth/scree between them. You might be able to use 1/2-inch hardware cloth/screen. The screen is better than wood because the skunk can grip the screen, obtaining the traction necessary to get out. Gently lower the ladder into the window well at as low an angle as you can. Hopefully the skunk is strong enough (and smart enough) to climb out. I have never seen this work. So I can’t give it a strong endorsement like Option 1.
Option 3. Cowboy it. Use a cat grasper to grab the skunk (gently) and lift it out of the hole. I did this once. Fortunately, the skunk did not spray me but it could have. I don’t recommend this option. If you use it, you are on your own.
Option 4. Hire a professional wildlife control operator. For tips on making a good choice, visit WCO.
The best option is to prevent skunks from becoming window well skunks in the first place.Stephen M. Vantassel, CWCP, ACE, is the owner of Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. He helps people restore their balance with nature through publishing, training, consulting, and the internet. He has published numerous articles in trade and academic publications (http://kingsdivinity.academia.edu/StephenMVantassel) along with several books (https://wildlifecontrolconsultant.com/store-2/). Listen to his podcast at PestGeek Podcast (https://pestgeekpodcast.com/). He is a sought after speaker and trainer. If you would like to have Stephen speak at your event or use his consultation services, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text (not images) may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included. If images wish to be used, explicit and written permission must be obtained from Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC.