Why do skunks spray?

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The skunks spray for various reasons. The skunk carries out its defense mechanism to protect its young from predators like wolves, coyotes, badgers and any other natural predator. Humans are sometimes considered predators and discouraged from coming closer to it. If the skunk is shocked or surprised, it might spray as a reaction response. The skunk might get startled when it is staying beneath the house and when anyone stomps on the floor with high-heeled shoes or walks on the floor loudly. The skunk sprays because it hears the sound and considers the noise as a threat to its survival.

There are two anal glands situated on either side of the anus of the skunk. These glands secrete a chemical substance that consists of sulfur. The odor of this chemical is generally unbearable. The spray from the skunk is aimed at any animal that is observed as a threat to it. The spray of the skunk is found to stop the animal from doing its activity of frightening the skunk. Stopping the grizzly bear was found to be done by the skunk very often.

The usual process of a skunk in frightening the predator is first to give a proper warning before it sprays. It will stomp its front feet to give a warning that it is irritated. After that, the skunk will place its body by turning around towards the side where the threat is located. If the predator or any threat still moves towards the skunk even after getting a warning signal from the skunk, an oil stream is sprayed by the skunk on the predator or threat. The skunks have the ability to spray the oil to a distance of ten feet. The skunks were reported in some cases to have sprayed a threat even at a distance of 20 feet very accurately. The chemical quantity that has to be used in each of the sprays can be controlled by the skunk. Therefore, a skunk sprays to avoid predators.

Author: Hari M

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