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  • USA Wildlife Removal Education Guide - Why do skunks spray?

Why do skunks spray?

Skunks usually spray when they feel threatened or when they are startled, in which case spraying is an instinctive reaction. For example, skunk will spray if he hears sudden noise that will surprise him and he will have an idea that he is under an attack somehow. This can easily happen if he is under the porch and you suddenly run over the porch (especially if you are wearing high heels that produce lots of noise).



However, in majority of cases spraying will happen as an act of defense, because spraying is very effective in that sense. Skunk will first warn potential aggressor about its intention-if you see skunk that is stomping with its front feet, be aware that it is irritated and that it intends to spray you if you don't stop with your actions. Next action that skunk will do if stomping didn't cause satisfactory response-will be turning its back toward you-this is sort of final warning of what will come next. In a very short period of time, skunk will spray and this is something that about every animal and humans really want to avoid. It has been recorded that skunk's spray has stopped angry grizzly bear in its advancement.

Skunk's spray is unbearably smelly due to the content of sulfur in its oily content and this constantly renews itself, so skunks can spray at opponents on a daily basis. Don't think that you are safe next day if you have received skunk's spray today.

Skunks spray is produced in two anal glands, each on one side of anus. Skunks learn very quickly to accurately spray at object they perceive as threat. Skunk spraying is very accurate and also distant-skunks can spray at 10 feet distance and there are cases where they have hit objects that have been 20 feet away-which is indeed quite distant considering skunk's usual size. Additionally, don't believe that skunks can spray only once-this is misconception that needs to be erased-skunks can spray about 8 times in a row and they can also control just how much smelly content will be in one spraying.

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