A raised pool deck can be an attractive addition to any property with an above-ground pool, but unfortunately, they aren't just attractive to humans. The space beneath a raised pool deck can be an inviting habitat for unwelcome animal pests, including every homeowner's worst nightmare — skunks.
Are Skunks Beneath Your Raised Pool Deck Dangerous?
Generally speaking, skunks aren't particularly dangerous to humans. They are timid, non-aggressive creatures that rarely bite or scratch. However, if you startle a skunk living beneath your pool deck, it may unleash its spray if it feels cornered. This is especially likely if the skunk is trying to defend its young.
Skunk spray is notoriously foul-smelling, and the smell is very difficult to remove from clothing and fabrics. If your raised deck is made of timber, it can also soak into the surfaces of the wood, where it will linger for months if not thoroughly cleaned. Skunk spray can also irritate your skin, and can cause temporary, painful blindness if it gets into your eyes.
Skunks under your raised pool deck are a much more serious issue if you have cats or dogs. Skunk spray contains chemicals that are also present in onions and garlic, both of which are lethal to cats and dogs. A face full of skunk spray can put your pet's life at risk.
Skunks can also carry rabies, and a rabid skunk under your raised pool deck must be removed as soon as possible. Rabies can make skunks more aggressive, and scratches or bites from an infected skunk can pass the disease on to you. If you are attacked by a rabid skunk, you must get a rabies vaccine as soon as humanly possible. It can be lethal.
For these reasons, you should never attempt to remove skunks from beneath your raised pool deck yourself. Give your deck a wide berth so the skunk doesn't feel threatened, and call in a professional residential wildlife removal service as soon as possible.
How Are Skunks Removed From Beneath Raised Pool Decks?
To evict skunks from beneath a raised pool deck, wildlife removal services will set traps. These traps are almost always non-lethal cage traps. Killing non-rabid skunks is illegal in some jurisdictions, and some skunk species are endangered, making it illegal to kill them wherever they are found.
Your wildlife removal service will set up baited traps around the perimeter of your raised pool deck, and outside the entrance(s) of any burrows the skunks have dug beneath the deck.
If the skunks don't fall for the traps, your service may erect a temporary exclusion fence between the bottom of the deck and the ground. These fences have a single exit point where a trap can be set up. Once the skunk(s) have been captured, the fence can be removed. If there are baby skunks beneath your deck, they may need to be captured and removed by hand.
Once the skunk(s) have been caught, they can be safely released miles away from your property. If the trapped skunk is rabid, it can be humanely euthanized, causing much less pain and distress to the animal than lethal traps or poisoning.
After your deck has been declared skunk-free you should have the area beneath your deck cleaned and decontaminated, especially if any skunks sprayed during the trapping process. Decontamination is especially important if any skunks were rabid. Some wildlife removal services offer cleaning and decontamination services as part of their removal contracts, which can save you time and money.
For more information on residential wildlife removal in your area, contact a professional near you.