Do skunks warn before spraying?

You are out for a lovely walk on a country road on a spring evening when suddenly, a skunk appears. All you can think about is becoming a victim of stinky spray. Do not panic, there are ways to avoid being its victim. Here are the warning signs to look for and ways to avoid being sprayed. Try not to appear threatening, or to make the skunk angry. A skunk only wants to spray as a last resort. Spraying can leave the skunk defenseless until their glands can have a chance to "reload". Before spraying, a skunk will try its best to frighten you with a series of actions intended to intimidate you. Before spraying, it will try stomping its feet, growling, and showing of teeth, hissing, slapping, and swinging their tail and, as a last resort, they will try an elaborate handstand-dance. If a skunk begins going through these moves, leave the area. If you are trapped with the skunk, try to remain calm. If the skunk is posturing, and shows no signs of calming down, and you think, a skunk is going to spray pay close attention. First, follow the pattern of the stripes on its back.

The stripes running down skunks’ back will point to the area the glands are located- the area that the smelly spew comes out! By being alert, you might be able to avoid being hit by the spray. A Skunk can shoot its sulfurous -smelling solution up to ten feet from the anal glands. Try to remove yourself from the skunk’s ten foot firing range. The skunks smell comes from compounds called thiols, a highly combustible sulfur based compound found most commonly in onions and garlic.

The smell is so potent that it can linger from a few days to several weeks. This spray is extremely irritating to soft tissues and has been known to cause severe skin problems or temporary blindness. This mixture is so strong that the smell can linger in an area for days before it dissipates and can be smelled up to a mile away. The skunk’s odiferous defense is directly related to it feeding habits. Because Skunks are nocturnal and solitary, they are in danger of animals attaching them on the ground under the cover of night. The ability to spray this potent substance can stun the would-be predators and allow the skunk to escape. The Latin name of the skunk family is Mephitidae; it literally translates to “stink."

Read the How to get rid of skunks page for helpful information and to learn more about Do skunks warn before spraying?

Do skunks warn before spraying?

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