What’s digging up my yard? Skunks or raccoons?

Do you see signs of vandalism in your yard and suspect it to be the work of some furry culprits? Skunks and raccoons are particularly active in the fall when they’re bulking up for winter and in spring when they’re at their hungriest. Here’s a guide to help you determine what kind of pests you’re dealing with.


Skunks are known for their unpleasant odour, but they can also make a mess in your garden. They’re nocturnal feeders, and they seek out food in the shallow top layer of soil. They leave multiple shallow holes the size of their noses around your yard, each surrounded by a ring of loose dirt. Your garden may look like someone’s gone over it with an aerator.

Your skunk visitors are digging for worms, grubs, and soil-dwelling insects. They may also eat small animals, birds, and eggs. At the right time of the year, they might even raid your berry bushes. Since the skunk species found in Canada don’t climb well, your tree fruit should be safely out of their reach. 


Raccoons are clever and can manipulate things with their forepaws similarly to how humans use their hands. This dexterity gives them  more sophisticated movements, overturning whole clumps of sod to get to the feast underneath. If your property is newly landscaped, they’ll leap at the chance to rip and flip that fresh new lawn.

If your sod gets disturbed by raccoons, put it back in place as quickly as possible before it dries out and treat it with a root-building fertilizer.

Double trouble

Keep in mind that both raccoons and skunks like to eat at night, so there’s a chance you may have both critters making a mess in your yard after dark. If you smell skunk odour in the morning, don’t assume that to be the only culprit. If an aggressive raccoon came by while a skunk was busy, your garden might have been the site of an overnight turf war.

Pest control in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

When your property becomes the favourite hangout of nuisances like skunks and raccoons, you need effective, professional help. The specialists at Poulin’s Pest Control will inspect your property for vulnerabilities and recommend solutions. Rely on us for tried and tested residential pest control service. Visit our retail locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, or contact us today to talk to an expert and request an estimate.

Spread the love