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Is a Polecat Living Under Your House? Here’s How I Got Rid of Mine

In this article, I would like to share what I learned about a polecat that lived under my house that I didn’t even know was there.

My wife and I were surprised to discover that one or more pylons were living under our house, even though there were signs. For several years away and whenever we were out and coming home, there was the smell of bird poop at the door of the house from inside the garage. You might know a polecat. The other name it goes by is skunk.

It was always in the same place. The door was 20 feet from the nearest outside wall, so the smell didn’t make sense. I would look around and then the scent would disappear before I could find anything. It was never the full smell, just a whiff every now and then.

The way we found the real problem was when the HVAC unit needed some work. While our HVAC repairman was working on our unit, he said he thought there was a cat living under our house. My attitude was that if the cat didn’t pay rent, it was out. So I went to find out how the cat got under our house.

We live in a brick house with a concrete foundation and no distinct access points. It turns out that in the inside wall of the crawl space, there was a hole about two feet long and six inches wide that went down and turned out. The hole came up under our deck, near the house under some torn plastic ground cover behind the deck mesh.

The hole, on the outside, was two feet by two feet and tapered to about ten inches around. We could not see below deck and therefore did not see the hole. The hole went down two feet and under the footer of the house, then up and into the crawl space.

The plastic ground cover under the house had been pulled and no longer provided good moisture protection. So I pulled it tight and stapled it to the ground with landscape staples.

In the process of the stapler, I found the lad’s house. It was just down the stairs from the garage. There were some black and white hairs in a corner next to some cement blocks. Suddenly, everything made sense. That’s what we smelled on and off when we got home.

With all evidence of the skunk removed and with my son’s help, we proceeded to pour 640 pounds of concrete into the hole to keep the skunk OUT. New dirt was brought in to complete the filling of the hole and new plastic soil cover is stapled. A new one-inch openable plastic mesh was installed around the deck.

We believe the lad got in by going behind the deck steps and crawling past the support boards. We also added 1/4 inch galvanized wire mesh behind the mesh to keep out all but the smallest critters. This year there were no aromatic smells.

It turns out that skunks are very good at digging. They have large front claws, but they cannot climb. Can you imagine yourself under a house in a three-foot space, face-to-face with a miser? Well, I’m happy to report that the lad wasn’t home when we went to find the cat under the house.

If you think a tenant is home when you have to go to the crawl space, call animal control and ask them to verify that the pest is gone. Better them than you!

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