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Official Blog of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County
by Wendy Ponomarenko
on July 2, 2016 at 1:11 PM
Since pretty much the only predator of skunks is the Great Horned Owl, I was wondering if the call of the Great Horned Owl scares skunks. It would be an interesting skunk deterrent to have a Great Horned Owl call go off in the yard a few times every night to scare the skunks away. Would that work?
Reply by Stephen I Morse
on July 6, 2016 at 6:12 PM
Thanks Wendy for reading our blog... and the comments and questions on an interesting and unusual subject and the possibility for keeping skunks out of your garden... apologies for not responding earlier but finally caught up with our MG wildlife expert... she has many years at Lindsay Wildlife Experience in Walnut Creek... when asked about your idea, her response boiled down to:  
1. most of the Great Horned Owl (GHO) screeches are signals to either their mate or other owls designating territory and/or distress …  
2. You can obtain the various calls at many of the various ornithological web sites..  
3. When GHO are "hunting" they are quiet... i.e. not screeching, so she has doubts that producing a GHO call would keep skunks out of your garden, but we are interested if you try it out and what the results are.  
4. One fairly consistent, successful, and non-harmful to the skunk (or GHO) technique that she recommends and uses herself is a device similar to a “ScareCrow Motion Activated Animal Repellent” (available on Amazon [] and usually at local hardware and big box stores) which will,when set up appropriately, automatically spray water on intruding animals… There are several manufacturers of similar devices...She has found that skunks really don’t like getting wet and stay away after several “incidents” (from personal experience remember to turn it off come daytime unless you want another shower too).  
Hopefully my comments respond to yours… Please feel free to further comment or ask questions…  
and Good Luck on you skunks.  
Help Desk of the UC Master Gardeners Program of Contra Costa County.
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