How to Stop a Skunk From Spraying

By Elizabeth Caraway

Skunks are nocturnal omnivores, about the size of a medium cat, that are equipped with powerful scent glands in their hind end. They use these musk glands in self defense. The pungent liquid spray can cause nausea and, if it reaches the eyes, temporary blindness. Wild skunks can gravitate toward residential areas because of the ready supply of food. Skunks are also sometimes kept as pets. Whatever the case, when you encounter a skunk that feels threatened, the animal will make a strange purring noise, lift its tail in full bloom and stomp its feet. It may growl, hiss or squeal. Unless you take appropriate action, you may be in for a stinky surprise.

In the Wild

Stay quiet; don't make any loud or potentially startling noises. Skunks don't have the best eyesight but they do have keen hearing.

Freeze. Stop whatever you were doing.

Back away slowly and get away from the skunk. An adult skunk can accurately spray ten feet and has a range of up to 25 feet.

In a Domestic Environment

Find out if your pet skunk was descented. Typically the breeder will get this procedure done between 2 and 5 weeks of age, but not all breeders have the animals descented before selling.

Find a local veterinarian that is willing to work with skunks (not all are) and has experience performing scent gland removal procedures.

Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have your pet skunk's anal scent glands removed.