Robert Connolly robert at
Mon Aug 20 20:06:23 PDT 2007

I should also mention some tips for avoiding skunks, if that's what you want.

Skunks are nocturnal carnivorous scavengers. Stay away from trash bags on the 
sidewalk, and dumpsters, at night.

Try to stay in the center of the sidewalk or path. Skunks will be next to 
buildings, fences, and bushes. These landmarks provide the skunk with cover, 
and direction (because their don't see well).

Skunks create paths into fields/forests. If you see a one foot wide path, this 
is generally an animal path (skunks, raccoons, rabbits), and not a human 
path. Avoid using these at night.

Make constant noise as you walk. Jingle your keys in your hand, walk on 
gravel, sing with your walkman, so the skunk knows you're coming.

Use tall (over 1 meter/yard) trash bins, instead of loose bags, to keep your 
house from becoming a skunk/raccoon feeding ground.

If you get close to one by mistake don't panic, and especially don't 
yell/scream or throw things at them. Skunk are slow, and they know it... they 
will hold their ground in a fight. Give the skunk time to think. Behave like 
everything is fine, and walk around them. Skunks don't want to spray you, 
it's their last resort when they fear for their life. Skunks are most 
familiar with other skunks, so try to imitate the behavior of a skunk who is 
looking at a larger skunk by leaving the area without making noise... this is 
also what raccoons and cats do with skunks. I've never been sprayed, so I 
don't know the minimum distance, but I'd guess 3 meters/yards will work. 
Their spray comes from their rear-end, if they're facing you then you're 
still in good shape.

If you do get sprayed, use tomato sauce or catsup, shampoo, toothpaste and 
mouthwash and baking soda soaked for 5 minutes, then shampoo again, in that 
order. The stuff in toothpaste that gets rid of bad breath works much better 
than tomatoes. I've done this with my dog and it works very well.

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