It’s nearly spring, which means it’s time for green grass, crocuses and…mating wild animals. While you might normally be inclined to leave wild animals to their own business, it’s hard to ignore when the animal is a skunk. Mating skunks can leave skunk smells all over your property throughout the spring from initial contact to the period when the baby skunks are born (called “whelping.”) The smell is particularly common when the female is rejecting the advances of her would-be gentleman admirer. (Admittedly, this may be more than you ever wanted to know about skunk romance.)
Eww, That Smell
Skunks are gentle, non-aggressive creatures, which may explain why nature gave them a particularly odoriferous defense in the form of a musk that’s expelled from the animal’s backside when it’s frightened or angry. Skunk spray smells so noxious because it consists of a mixture of chemicals containing sulfur (such as thiols), which are notorious for their pungent and nauseating odor, according to the website Science ABC.
How Long Will It Last?
If you do have skunks carrying on building families in your yard, be prepared for a relatively long process. After mating, which happens in February or March, skunks have a 60-day gestation period, and babies are born blind and deaf and nursed in the den by the mother for about six weeks.
Fluffy Has Been Sprayed. Now What?
Dogs are often victims of skunk spraying. If your dog is sprayed by a neighborhood skunk, don’t despair. Neutralizing the chemicals contained in a skunk’s “stink” is quite easy. A combination of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide is a very good strategy to get rid of the skunk smell on dogs, cats or other household pets.
Smells Can Be Tracked Into the House
If skunks spray near one of the main entrances of your house, the scent can be tracked inside and permeate the air for months. If the smell gets on home surfaces such as tile, mopping with a bleach solution can counter the scent. For surfaces that could be ruined with bleach (hardwood floors, for example), look for one of the pet smell neutralizers such as Nature’s Miracle at a pet store.
Call the Professionals
If you’re unsure of what to do or worried about coming into contact with skunks, it’s best to let experts determine a safe and compliant way to get the animals to leave. Pest management professionals like Anderson Wildlife will find the most humane way to make sure your wild friends aren’t making a stink.