Skunks are apt to spray when cornered, frightened or surprised. Keeping yourself from getting sprayed is paramount, however there are indications and preventative measures you can take. Skunks are nocturnal pests. If you see them during the day they are rabid. They prefer the dark to the light and while they have sharp ears and smelling senses, they have very poor vision.
For your home you can install outside lights. In this way the turning on your lights prior to your going out will most likely frighten the skunk away. Know your property. During the day look around your property for signs of a skunk living there. Check under your house, seal up holes that can be used as an entrance or exits for skunks. Check for the smell of skunk. Whether they have sprayed or not there is always a faint smell. Check your yard and look for holes in your yard. Skunk holes are shallow and approximately 3 – 4 inches in diameter. This is from digging for grubs. Look at sod and see if it is rolled back. Skunks would prefer to roll the sod rather than dig it up. Any or all of these signs may be an indication of your having a skunk.
Keep your property free of garbage; this also includes pet food, keep birdseed off the ground as much as possible and keep your garbage can lids tightly on the cans. If you find indications of a skunk living on your property, call wildlife professionals for removal.
You can also avoid being sprayed by a skunk by taking some simple precautions. Walk your dog prior to getting dark. Remember skunks only spray under certain circumstances. They may spray simply because they can’t see you. Should you run into a skunk speak softly and move slowly. If you’re not in a position to walk away, you next step is to delicately convince them to walk away. You may try this by gently stamping your feet and/or speaking in a low tone of voice.
Skunks however are not quick to spray they would rather run from you. If they don’t, watch for the warning signs of preparing to spray. One of the prerequisites of spraying is to stamp their feet, hiss and twist around prior to raising their tail. Once the tail is up, you are going to be sprayed.
When walking at night carry a flashlight. Due to the skunks’ sharp hearing sing in a lowered tone. It is not unwise to carry around something that makes a noise that is not loud. I would use a set of keys gently clanging. Skunks want to avoid you as much as you want to avoid them. If you run into them give them room to get around you.
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