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The law in some states and counties actually require that any trapped skunk be terminated. There are both humane and inhumane ways to kill a skunk with traps. This post of course, refers to live trapped skunks and not those killed with lethal traps like the connibear or body grip traps. Lethal traps are highly inhumane and have been mostly banned. Read about How to trap a skunk
So, how best to terminate a skunk’s life in a cage trap? There are several ways to kill a skunk, and the major challenge while carrying out the act, is how to avoid being sprayed. This could be a dilemma because skunks almost always spray when they are killed. It is however, quite possible to kill a skunk without getting sprayed in return.
The option of shooting a skunk is more suited to rural dwellings due to the associated risk of shooting persons and pets by mistake in urban and suburban areas. Shooting a caged skunk at that close range seems simple enough, but be wary of the animal’s blood, which may have been contaminated with rabies and other zoonotic infections. These diseases are transferable to humans that are exposed to the blood of rabid animals.
To ensure a quick death by shooting, both the operator and his firearm must be capable of getting a good shot the first time.
Euthanization is the method of choice with animal control departments and other humane societies. It is also called ‘putting the animal to sleep’. The skunk gets injected with sodium pentobarbital so that the death can be painless. The injection may be administered by a long, extendable syringe to avoid getting sprayed in return.
Care should always be taken to guarantee the animal is euthanized humanely. As an alternative to doing it yourself, you may contact your local wildlife control company, veterinarian, animal shelter. They may euthanize the animal for a fee.
To avoid getting sprayed in the process, you may get a large, old towel or sheet and hold it in front of you as move towards the trap. Skunks don’t usually spray if they cannot see their target. When you are close enough, drape the sheet over the cage.
Note: Always wear gloves and other protective gear while handling skunks, carcasses and contaminated equipment. Dispose of carcasses properly by placing them in a plastic bag and burying in the ground. Read the guide Should You Ever Poison A Skunk?
Go back to the Skunk Removal page, or learn tips by reading How to get rid of skunks.