skunk with tail in the air

What to Do if You See a Skunk

Most people will recognize a skunk’s distinct black fur that contains two white stripes going down their back. This skunk variety is known as Mephitis mephitis and is the most common type of skunk found in Los Angeles. Spilogale putorius skunks are Mephitis mephitis’ smaller spotted counterparts that are less prevalent in Los Angeles.

Are you unsure what to do if you cross paths with a skunk? Let’s examine how you can best handle a direct confrontation.

Use Caution During a Confrontation

You’re most likely to spot a skunk at night, as they’re nocturnal animals that tend to search for food after sunset. The easiest way to avoid being sprayed by a skunk is staying out of a skunk’s way—something that’s not super challenging to do. Skunks are nearsighted and may subsequently mistake you for a predator.

If a skunk does recognize you during a close encounter, they’ll tend to spray when they feel there’s no escape or their young are at risk. Analyzing a skunk’s body language can help you evaluate your risk of being sprayed. Skunks will stamp their feet, raise their tail, hiss, point their rear at you, and possibly charge in a short forward motion before they release their foul-smelling defense. Spotted skunks tend to do a handstand right before they spray.

Your best bet is to back away quietly and slowly if you don’t recognize any of these visible defensive moves. If a skunk looks ready to spray, it’s a good idea to run, as they can spray accurately up to 10 feet.

If You Don’t See Skunks, They May Still Be Around

Woman plugging her nose to block the smell of a dead rat

Chances are you’re more likely to smell a skunk than see one. Continuous faint musky smells under a building or woodpile may indicate the presence of skunks. Other prominent signs of skunks may include damage to a property’s plants, ripped home vents, and shallow ground holes.

How to Deter a Skunk with Mild Harassment

There are some ways to deter skunks that reduce your risk of getting sprayed. Mild forms of skunk harassment like filling den holes or adding extra light and noise to your property can make your skunk problem disappear sooner rather than later. It’s essential to make sure a skunk isn’t close by while you’re implementing these defensive strategies.

What Happens if a Skunk Gets in My Garage?

You don’t have to panic if a skunk is in your garage. Leave your garage door open before sunset, and the skunk will most likely make their exit during the night.

What Should I Do if I Spot a Skunk in My Window Well?

Skunks can find themselves trapped in window wells or other sunken points within a property. You can lend some assistance by carefully lowering a board at a 45-degree or larger angle into the skunk’s area so they can climb out. A board with some form of traction like chicken wire or carpet will make it easier for the skunk to get back to ground level.

Solve All of Your Los Angeles Property’s Skunk Problems with One Call

Are you looking for some professional skunk removal assistance in Los Angeles? Animal Capture Wildlife Control offers skunk trapping and removal services that clear skunks from your property in a humane and efficient manner. Being proactive with property skunk removal helps you avoid future problems, as skunks often return to where they were born to have their own offspring.

We’ve been getting sprayed for years during skunk removals so you don’t have to. Contact Animal Capture Wildlife Control at 310-551-0901 for professional skunk inspections, trapping, removal, and preventative maintenance services in Los Angeles.