Skunks may look cute and they have an unassuming appearance, but they have the reputation of spraying a chemical with a lingering and foul odor. This odor is not easy to get rid of. If the skunk sprays, it will be a sign that he feels threatened by something or someone. The capacity to spray is found early within skunks. The spray is oily in appearance and it is developed by glands found in the tails of the animals. The young skunks are able to do this spraying just a few weeks after being born. The skunks will have complete spraying skills 3 months after being born.
Whether you are dealing with a baby skunk or a fully matured skunk, their spraying will not happen randomly. The skunks will not spray for the sake of disrupting others since they tend to stay out of the way of humans whenever it is possible. The spray will take place if the skunk is too scared, if it has been startled by something else, or if it is in discomfort or pain because of an injury. You should not assume that the skunk will not spray simply because it looks too young. The skunks will show you that they are about to spray you through foot thumping, shrieking, hissing or growling. When you are around a skunk, such behaviors are a cue that you have to leave the vicinity of the skunk at once. When the skunk elevates the tail and is looking towards you, it may be too late.
The skunk will be able to spray before it is able to reproduce. The female skunk normally enters into sexual maturity in 335 days. When the skunks become adults, they have little to worry about since their spray glands will be fully developed and they will use them as an effective method to defend themselves. It is rare to see a skunk being killed by predators, but they are sometimes eaten as a last resort by mountain lions, bobcats and foxes. Great horned owls can be predators to the skunks, and because they have little sense of smell and they hunt during the night, they are the greatest risk to the skunks.
Skunks are the only mid-Atlantic animals that have this type of defense, but their ability has evolved many times and in different species of skunk in the entire world. When the skunks are not threatened and it is not during the birthing period, they will not spray and they will keep calm.
Go back to the How to Get Rid of Skunks page or email us if you have any other questions about Do babies or juvenile skunks spray?
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