Skunks are on the move from the end of February through early March. Males wander from den to den looking for mates. In one spring, a male will mate with multiple females and a female may accept the advances of more than one male. For a few weeks during mating season, it’s common to see skunks roaming outdoors.
Once mating season is over, skunk sightings will become fewer and farther between. However, they will pick back up at the end of June when the females emerge with their kits. You’re most likely to spot these family groups on their nightly hunting expeditions.
Although a skunk’s first response to danger is to flee, a bold skunk may be more prone to spray. If you meet a skunk or a family of skunks at night, your best bet is to stop and slowly retreat.
An agitated skunk will arch its back, lift its tail, stomp its front feet, emit a high-pitched squeal and whip its rear forward so that both its head and tail are facing its threat, right before it sprays its musk. The blast radius extends about 10 feet and the odor can carry more than a mile downwind.
If you find yourself threatened by a skunk, having this knowledge and recognizing the warning signs can prevent you from falling victim to its musk. However, preventing pet encounters during high traffic times of the year may be a little more difficult. Fortunately, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has a pretty successful method for removing skunk musk from pets.
Removing skunk odor
The ODNR recommends bathing your pet in a hydrogen peroxide solution.
- 1 quart 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1-2 teaspoons of liquid soap
- For large pets, add 1 quart of lukewarm water to stretch the solution.
- Mix ingredients in a large bucket.
- Scrub your pet’s fur with the mixture, avoiding its face and other sensitive areas.
- Dip a washcloth into the solution and carefully clean around face and other sensitive areas.
- Let the solution sit for several minutes.
- Rinse your pet thoroughly.
- Repeat this process until the musk stench is gone.
- Although the solution is hydrogen peroxide-based, if you rinse the solution within several minutes, it probably won’t dye your pet’s fur. If you notice discoloration, it will only be temporary.
- Use the solution right after it’s mixed. Do not bottle or store leftover solution for later use. The gas the solution produces can build up and cause container lids to pop off.
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