Skunks Spray at Death— Killing them Won’t Help

Common sense isn’t always common. 🤦 So many of our skunk patients this year were orphaned when their mothers were killed by people who didn’t want themselves or their pets sprayed. And of course, most of the people who killed the mother skunks got sprayed while doing it.

Being sprayed by a skunk isn’t the end of the world. It happens here daily at For Fox Sake during baby season and isn’t a big deal. The only impact it has had on my life is that people tend to assume I’m a “smoker” when I go out in public smelling musky. 🤷 But even if you’re so afraid of skunk smells that you think it’s worth an animal’s life, killing them isn’t the answer!

Anyone who’s driven past a deceased skunk on the road knows that skunks usually spray when they die. This sometimes happens because of fear when they try to defend themselves against a person (or pet, or vehicle) and sometimes happens reflexively during or after death. If you shoot, trap, or beat a skunk, you’re going to end up getting sprayed. And you’re also a jerk for doing it, and yes, we’re judging you for it.

A few people avoid the risk of getting sprayed by poisoning skunks rather than shooting or trapping them, but that’s not a solution either. Poison is a terrible way to die, and a poisoned skunk will still usually release musk while it dies. Do you really want to be left with the job of cleaning up a rotting, musky skunk when the unfortunate critter goes under your deck to die? We promise it smells much worse than a live, healthy skunk.

Please learn to coexist with your wild neighbors! But if you do have a skunk family on your property and they’re causing damage, turn to humane methods to encourage them to find an alternative den. Close up all entry points to your home and crawl space. Strong smells like ammonia and Vicks Vaporub tend to be very off-putting to skunks and will also help convince them to leave, and keeping a flashlight or electric lantern on will also discourage them. Killing isn’t the answer.

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