Skunks are easily one of the most recognizable animals to be spotted from a lengthy distance. It’s not because of their fluffy tails or cute little noses, and it’s not because of famous cartoon characters made in their likeness. People far and wide know that skunks can make a real stink. For most people, the very sight of a skunk is enough to turn their heels and take off in the other direction. What is so stinky about that spray has people sprinting away? Learn more about skunk spray and who to call for wildlife removal in Madison.
A Big Name for an Even Bigger Stink
Many people refer to a skunk’s spray simply as being skunked. However, there are more scientific terms that do the job, too. The liquid stink spray that a skunk uses for a defense mechanism is called n-butyl mercaptan. The latest research confirms that the actual chemical compound of the yellow, oily liquid that the skunk sprays from its backside is comprised of no less than seven significant components: thioacetates, thiols, and an alkaloid.
A Big Defense for a Little Animal
The truth is, skunks don’t want to use their stinky spray on your or anyone else, and they don’t go around flagrantly spraying people, other animals, or anything else at will. However, skunks aren’t particularly dangerous, and they don’t get much bigger than an ordinary house cat, so they have to have some defense to stay alive.
Skunks only use their spray as a last-resort defense mechanism. Before enlisting their spray as a protective measure, they will try several other actions in hopes that the aggressor will leave the area. It is also acceptable to give them enough space to leave without feeling like they will be attacked. Skunks may attempt the following actions to warn you of an oncoming spray:
- Tail shaking
A Big Smell for Small Glands
It is a great point of confusion for small children and even some adults that skunks spray their urine or feces when angered. This is incorrect. The spray is produced by two small glands that are inside the anus of the skunk. Once enough spray is created, it is stored in the sacs for safekeeping if the skunk needs to use it for defense. Unlike urine or feces, it is not a waste product.
A Big Spray for a Short Supply
Once the skunk has built up its supply of stinky defense spray, it is stored inside its anus in the two glands. A skunk does not needlessly use its spray because it can take up to two weeks to replenish the supply if depleted. The small skunk has few resources to protect itself against larger predators when searching for food and shelter with no defense mechanism.
A Big Reaction for a Simple Musk
One of the most upsetting parts of being skunked or sprayed with n-butyl mercaptan or misted with thiols, thioacetates, and alkaloid compounds is the lasting power of the stink. One of the reasons the smell lasts for so long is in the chemical compounds of the spray. The various chemicals often react to proteins and water producing a more pronounced smell over time. That means the more you scrub, the more you stink. People will try every trick in the book on how to get rid of skunk smell.
Rather than attempt to remove a skunk on your own, call in a professional humane wildlife removal service. Skunks don’t want to hurt you, and they genuinely don’t want to spray you, but they will turn tail and put the glands on full blast if they feel threatened. Don’t forget, adult skunks can spray up to 15 feet, and they have pretty good aim. Save yourself the trouble and the stink by calling Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control today.