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Old 06-17-2009, 10:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Do skunks smell all the time or only when spooked..

We thought we saw a skunk by our bird feeder today, which is right outside of the sunroom. But it was dark and really hard to see. There was no smell though. I was wondering does anyone know if skunks smell all the time or only when they get scared.

We have three Jack Russells who I know will tourment the poor little thing if given the chance and well I don't want them smelling like skunk either. (They caught a bird the other day, and they would of had a rabbit if I wasn't there to yell at them to leave it.) So they are definantly able to catch things before they get out of the electric fence zone. They do leave things when commanded to, but sometimes they are just faster then we can speak.

So basically I am just curious because every other time I had spotted a skunk you knew he or she was there by smell.


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Old 06-17-2009, 10:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Their smell comes from anal scent glands. And they can only use their scent a few times, before they run out for the day
So they only release it when they feel threatened. It can take several days for them to produce the chemical for use again.
So when you smell it, the skunk was either run over (cause I think the glands will just burst and the smell will be everywhere) or it was threatened by a predator.

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Old 06-18-2009, 12:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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They also scent each other while mating and then it's worse as two skunks are releasing their aroms. We thought they were actually in the basement but they were outside. It was horrid!

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Old 06-19-2009, 05:37 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My uncle actually had a pet skunk once when he was little, a de-skunked skunk. The scent gland had been removed, so he couldn't spray anything. My uncle said that it still did stink, but it wasn't the same kinda of stink. Just a typical large rodent stink.

But a good way to tell if they are going to spray is threatened skunks will go through an elaborate routine of hisses, foot stamping, and tail-high threat postures before resorting to the spray. The spray can reach up to 7 to 15 feet.

(I once did a report on Skunks for school)
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Old 06-19-2009, 06:48 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think they smell all the time,we had a family of skunks around last spring and we never smelled anything. Skunkies are so cute though!
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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They definitely have a musky body odor, independent of the spray; very similar to a ferret or mink if you've ever been around them (they're relatives, after all). But if the skunk is not disturbed or frightened, that would be much less strong than you would expect from a skunk's spray, which is VERY concentrated. So how strongly a skunk smells depends on how nervous they are, really; if they've sprayed recently, they'll smell much stronger than if they're calm.

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Old 06-20-2009, 03:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Their smell kind of reminds me of ferrets o.o

I came face to face with a skunk just yesterday evening (I thought it was the neighborhood cat crossing the road at first.. MY mistake!), and he didn't smell at all. If I would have smelled it I would have known before seeing it that there was a skunk nearby :P
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