Critter of the Month: Striped Skunk
Photo by Canva Pro
A skunk knows how to make its presence known. With their furry black and white coats and pungent odor, they’re hard to miss! Mississippi is home to two species of skunks: the spotted skunk and the striped skunk. The striped skunk is the most commonly found skunk in the state and are easily identified by, you guessed it, a white stripe on their back.
A skunk can spray as far as 15 feet away and the odor can be smelled over a half-mile away. Skunks are generally peaceful animals and don’t cause a stink unless they feel threatened. They will often wag their tail, stomp their feet, and hiss before spraying their odor. If you run into a skunk, the best thing to do is slowly back away. You don’t want to get sprayed!
Skunks are omnivores, meaning they eat anything and everything. Skunks find themselves at home in a variety of different areas, including ground burrows and crawl spaces. If you smell a skunk’s odor under a building, shed, or deck, they very well may have made that space their new home. If these furry visitors become a problem, wildlife experts recommend you have them professionally removed. Reach out to your local Extension agent, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, or the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services for information on how to remove skunks. Trapping is also an option, but that comes with the risk of potentially being sprayed!
So, what do you need to do if you or your pets do get sprayed? I’ve always heard you should bathe in tomato juice to remove the odor. But does it really work? No, tomato juice does nothing but mask the smell. Instead, mix one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of dish soap together and lather on your body immediately. This can be used on both pets and people who have been sprayed. There are also commercial products that can be purchased at your local home and garden store to help remove the odor.
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