Common Misconceptions about Skunks

Few animals are quite as misunderstood as the skunk. Widely feared for their powerful and unpleasant odor, there is actually a lot more to these animals than meets the eye (or nose!).

Misconception #1: Skunks Spray Often

Contrary to popular belief, skunks are not holy terrors that spray everything within their path. In fact, skunks hate to spray, mainly because it takes time for new spray to form, which leaves them defenseless against predators. A skunk will generally only spray you if you make it feel threatened or afraid. If you happen to come across a skunk, back away slowly without making loud noises or fast movements, and chances are, you’ll be just fine.

Misconception #2: Skunk Spray is Dangerous

Other than having a disgustingly pungent odor and being a minor eye irritant, skunk spray is relatively harmless. If you do get sprayed, there is no reason to rush off to a doctor. Instead, you simply want to bathe and then find a way to get rid of the skunk smell. If you are bitten by a skunk, however, you will want to see a doctor immediately, since skunks are known to carry rabies.

Misconception #3: You Can Clear Up Skunk Spray with Tomato Juice

For decades, people have been claiming that a bath in tomato juice gets rid of skunk odor. It’s unclear how or why this rumor got started, but it’s simply that a rumor. All a tomato juice bath will do is make you smell like tomato juice and skunk. Your best bet is to use a mixture of vinegar, peroxide, baking soda, and dish liquid, or to use a commercial de-skunking product to remove the smell.

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Misconception #4: Skunks Stay Far Away from Homes and Gardens

If you’ve got unexplained holes in your lawn or a strange creature making noise under your house or in your shed, your first instinct probably won’t be to blame a skunk. The truth is, however, skunks do sometimes take up residence on inhabited properties. Before the tell-tale odor sets in, it’s best to take steps to get rid of your smelly invader.

How to Get Rid of Skunks

It’s much easier to keep skunks away than it is to get rid of a skunk that has already taken up residence on your property. You can repel skunks by purchasing a quality skunk repellant. Just make sure to choose one that is non-toxic, uses natural ingredients, and that is otherwise safe for pets, children, and other wild animals. Skunk repellent may take care of an existing skunk problem in some cases, but if your skunk is determined to stick it out, you might have to set up a trap and catch the critter.

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