Basements and crawl spaces under houses make idea dens for urban critters. If we could charge rent for all the skunks, raccoons and feral cats that have taken up residence under the house we’d have paid off the mortgage by now. Our particular crawl space critter B&B was opened by virtue of a flimsy access door. Some animal, most likely a raccoon, pried it open. The problem with this situation is that you can’t just close up the door. Some poor creature would die a horrible death and then stink up the house for months. The answer is to create a one-way critter exit.
To make an exit you need a raccoon trap. I got a cheap one at Harbor Freight. But you’re not going to use it to trap animals. Trapping is a hassle, and I’d hate to have to deal with a pissed off skunk stuck in a trap. Thankfully these traps open up on both sides. Open both ends and you’ve essentially got a wire tube that will shut closed after an animal exits. Critters can leave but they can’t get back in.
You’ll need to set the trap and monitor it for a few days. The flaw in this plan is, of course, that an animal trying to get in your basement will also close the door on the trap (this is why you need to keep the trap in place for a few days to make sure everyone has a chance to exit).
I’m also using the trap to rid the backyard of the skunks that live under our shed. First, I skunk proofed the yard. Then I set up the one way exit at the back gate. I ran some wire up between the gap over the one way exit so the skunk can’t climb over the trap.
My one way exit seems to have worked at the crawl space entrance and at the backyard gate. Lacking a security camera I did a recreation:
Now you know what urban Los Angeles skunks look like. Hopefully Madame Skunk is happily dancing the night away at Club Los Globos instead of digging for grubs in my vegetable beds.