How Do Skunks Spray?

How Do Skunks Spray?

If you have ever been in the area where an agitated skunk has recently sprayed, or worse, been the victim of a spray attack, you know how foul the odor is. The suggested tomato juice bath remedy just covers up the smell, it doesn’t actually eliminate it. The rotten egg like stench tends to stick with you… or on you.

Why Do Skunks Spray?

As you might already know, skunks typically spray when they feel threatened, but did you know that they do not want to spray you? Here are a few interesting facts about why skunks spray:

  • Skunks do not want to spray because it takes up to a week for their bodies to restore their spray supply. They will first give their intruder warnings by stomping, hissing, and puffing their fur, similar to an angry cat. It is their last resort to release their spray.
  • Skunks can accurately spray a distance up of to 15 feet.
  • Usually skunk spray is not permanently harmful, but if it is sprayed in the eyes it can cause severe irritation and possibly temporary blindness.
  • Skunks do not spray each other.
  • Spray odor can last for up to a month, depending on the amount unleashed. 

How Do Skunks Spray?

After the skunk’s first defense mechanism of stomping, hissing, and puffing, it’s time for them to initiate “plan b,” spray attack! To spray, skunks turn around, form their backs into a horseshoe shape, lift their tail, and release. If you ever see a skunk in this position…run!

What Do Skunks Spray?

Skunk spray consists of a chemical called N-butly mercaptan, which is a pungent mix of sulfur-based compounds. The skunk stores the spray in glands positioned alongside its anus, which is why it needs to lift its tail to spray.

electronic animal repellent

How to Stay Away from the Spray

Keeping skunks from coming near your yard to begin with is very important. Luckily, there are a variety of options for protecting your yard. Safer® Brand natural animal repellents come in both spray and granule form, both of which drive skunks away by targeting their sense of taste and smell. Another option is the Critter Ridder® Motion-Activated Repellent is proven effective and a safe way to repel the skunks without ever having to approach them. This unique product is an electric device that uses a built-in sensor to detect motion before releasing the repellent. Critter Ridder® can be adjusted to reach up to 100 feet, so you can spray them, before they spray you! 

What to Do if You Get "Skunked"

If you, your home, or your pet were unable to dodge a spray, here are some helpful tips for removing the odor:

  • Mixing 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid detergent, should help to get rid of the smell on people, pets, clothing, and furniture.
  • Anything that contains neutroleum alpha helps eliminate the smell. There are retail products available such as Zorbx Extra-Strength Skunk Odor Remover
  • If the smell is still lingering in your home, boil vinegar in a pan. After the vinegar smell wears off, the skunk odor should as well.

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