Skunks may seem cute but their smelly spray can pack a real punch. These critters can be a real problem for your neighborhood; and they can be even worse for you if they decide to set up camp in your shed or below your patio. Here are some facts you may not know about these striped stink bombs.
Skunks cannot see very well. They can really only see what is right in front of them. When a skunk is born, it is completely blind and deaf. It’s hearing and sight will develop as it grows, but a skunk’s eyesight won’t improve too much. It’s distinct lack of good senses is why skunks fire off their spray often when frightened.
Despite their horrible eyesight, skunks have incredibly accurate spray. Both males and females can fire their spray up to about 15 feet, with accuracy up to about 10 feet. The spray can also mist and travel up to 45 feet, lingering in the air.
Skunks can spray incredibly fast, but it can be easy to see that they are getting ready to blast you, if you know what to look for. These warnings can help you to know if they are agitated or scared. If you see the skunk scratching its feet, raising its tail, or hissing, try to get out of the blast zone.
Despite their pudgy bodies and stumpy legs, skunks can bolt if they really need to, reaching speeds of up to 10 mph. If they are not threatened and not trying to hide, they will usually just lazily walk around.
Stripes For Caution
Most wild animals can see the stripes of a skunk and know to stay away. This can be both a learned and instinctive knowledge. However, one animal who fails to stay away is the domesticated dog. Man’s best friend doesn’t seem to take the hint; and pet owners may find themselves scrubbing off skunk smell from their dog on more than one occasion.
Skunk Spray Isn’t Dangerous
Skunk spray is not toxic as many people may believe. While it can be hard to wash off, skunk spray is not dangerous. You may have heard that skunk spray can cause blindness if it gets into your eyes, but this is false. You should still try not to get sprayed, because the smell is horrible.