You have probably seen at least one skunk in your lifetime. Maybe you think they are super cute animals, OR maybe you find them kind of repulsive; an unwelcome pest meandering through your yard at night. If you happen across one, you may be wondering if they will chase you or not?
Skunks are relatively docile and harmless animals who tend to mind their own business as long as they remain undisturbed. Generally, a healthy skunk will not chase you as skunks tend to avoid humans or animals that are larger than them. Use scent repellents to keep skunks away from you.
We’re going to discuss why skunks will usually not chase you or involve you in a crazy race. We will even dish out some tips on how to get rid of skunks who tend to habituate on your property often. Let’s dig in!
Healthy Skunks Avoid Predators and Won’t Chase You
There may be instances when predators or pests invade your home or garden and create an unpleasant situation for you, your family, or your pets. These are unfortunate circumstances but, as you have read about it on this blog, there is a myriad of ways to deal with this.
When it comes to seeking skunks around your property, you will most likely not see them during the day. This is because they are nocturnal animals. This means they sleep and stay hidden during the daytime. When night and the moon come out, skunks prowl around, hunt, and find food.
Generally speaking, skunks are not harmful animals.
They are generally not vicious. So, if you come across a skunk, chances are it is going to sprint off in the opposite direction. Now you are safe and have no fear of being chased after. So take off those running shoes and relax!
Something wild – did you know urine can actually repel skunks?
Skunks Burrow on Your Property and Take Shelter
Doesn’t everyone love cozy, warm homes in which you feel safe with your family and pets? Well, skunks are no different.
If a skunk finds a place that they feel is suitable for raising their young, they will create a den in which to nest. Unfortunately for you, these dens are often under your porch or deck, in your shed, or within a crawl space.
Skunks will take care of and raise their babies in these makeshift dens. They are not out to harm you when nesting within or around your home. However, if they feel threatened, or even worse, feel that their babies are unsafe, they might just spray you with that infamously horrible smell.
However, they really will not chase you. This is not something skunks do. They would rather avoid human interaction if they can because they are timid animals. Skunks just want their own space for themselves and their kin and they love to hunt for food at night.
What you may want to do in this situation is to find ways to remove the skunks from your home. As cute as they can be, who wants a skunk family living under their deck? We are quite sure you do not want this!
If you have skunks living on your property you can take a look at our top picks for best skunk repellents here.
Also, make sure you take a good look at the below paragraph here.
Please note, that some skunks have rabies. You can read more on that here if you’d like. Rabid skunks often show very unusual behavior and thus, may chase you. If you’ve found an occurrence of a skunk showing unusual behavior, please contact your local veterinarian or wildlife control specialist ASAP.
Keep Your Pets From Getting Sprayed by a Skunk
If you have a loving pet in your house whom you adore, you definitely want to be a wonderful pet owner and keep them safe. This also means keeping them safe from invasive pests and unsuspecting animals or predators.
While we have established that a skunk really will not run after you, they may actually go after your pets under certain circumstances. It is best to try and repel the skunks from your area before your pets get into a confrontation with them.
Generally, like has happened with both our family dogs Bluto AND Vito. The dog is likely to corner the skunk, and then spray in defense.
Simply put, Dogs have been known to get sprayed by skunks when the skunk feels cornered. If the dog or another similar pet chases the skunk, they can expect to be sprayed, as this is a skunk’s natural defense against predators.
If you’d like, you can read a bit about how our family dog Bluto got sprayed by a skunk here… Fun times!
You might know your dog would not go after the skunk and is just curious, but the skunk doesn’t know that!
Skunks Don’t Spray Unless They Have to
So we have mentioned quite a few reasons why skunks do not chase after people. However, they can release a spray which we have mentioned previously. You have probably heard of skunks spraying people and animals and how it smells absolutely awful? It is, unfortunately, true but there are definitely ways you can avoid being in the line of fire.
Skunks do not seek out uncomfortable situations. If a skunk feels endangered, it will resort to stamping its feet, hissing, and raising its tail. This leads to the skunk taking the next step of turning their back on whichever animal or human is bothering them at that moment and spraying.
If you are caught in this situation, it is time for you to move away quickly because you know what will happen next, right? The skunk is going to spray you! Look out!
So how exactly does it work when a skunk releases its spray? Is that what smells so bad? Or does the skunk itself smell bad?
Skunks have glands near their bottoms and within these glands is stored the infamously noxious spray. They can release their spray up to twenty feet away! That is just bonkers!
The spray released smells horrible and can also make the target nauseous. Just be aware that you really do not want to disturb a skunk unnecessarily. Otherwise, you are on the safe side and do not need to stress too much about wild skunks.
A very interesting fact, but coffee grounds can even repel skunks!
Best Skunk Repellents to Keep Skunks Off Your Yard
If you do happen to come across skunks that have made themselves comfortable in your home, you can rest assured that they will not chase you. Most likely, they will run away in the opposite direction out of fear.
All skunks want to do is eat and take care of their babies in peace. They can be a bit annoying because they do invade people’s personal spaces and yards, and of course, there is their horrible spray, but healthy skunks are generally harmless.
Let’s say that, well, as peaceful as they may be, the skunks are still causing a disturbance in your home. They can wreak havoc on your garden and produce that you are growing and cultivating. This means you need to get them out of your personal property!
We’re going to discuss some of them below, but you can read our article on the scents that skunks hate here.
There are a variety of scents you can use to repel skunks. They abhor citrus so you can spread lemon and orange peels around your yard. Just be sure to replace them since their smell wears off quite quickly.
You could also try spreading vegetable oil on patches of grass where the skunks tend to walk. They detest oil because it makes their skin oily which is an unpleasant sensation for them. Like the citrus peels, you can reapply the oil as well.
Another great way to avoid skunks is to create your own concoction. Take some cayenne pepper or chili powder and mix them with water. Pour this liquid into a spray bottle and spray it around your house. This is a very effective deterrent as well. Any liquid you use should be reapplied after a few days or after it rains.
If you are more comfortable with purchasing a store-bought, ready-made product that is popularly and widely used, then you also have some options to choose from. Below are just two of the many options out there that are available for you.
The Epic Skunk Scram consists of small granules that you can spread outside to prevent a skunk overload at your house. They are easy to use and come in a big container. It should last you quite some time as well.
Predator urine like American Heritage Industries Coyote Urine is also another effective deterrent. Skunks are terrified of their predators, as are most animals, and if they get a whiff of one of their predators being near them, then they will be discouraged from going to that spot.
That’s a Wrap!
Alright! Way to go on sticking with us as we learn all about skunks, chases, and the reasons behind these types of situations. It is a lot to digest so what we love to do is summarize it into key points for your benefit.
Shall we do a quick wrap-up of all things we covered so we can ensure that you will remember everything? Let’s do it!
- Docile and gentle – Skunks are harmless and quite peaceful. Their intent is not to cause harm to pets or people. If you stay away from them, they will stay away from you. Pretty simple! Nothing too complex.
- They love cozy homes just like you do – Sure, skunks may set up their lovely home somewhere on your property. They still will not chase after you. Just be aware to not get near their babies and to lure them away from their burrow safely and efficiently.
- Your adorable pets whom you should protect – Sometimes pets may unknowingly agitate a smaller animal like a skunk. In those instances, the skunk may feel threatened and will spray your pet. So while they will not necessarily chase your pet, they will still defend themselves.
- Repellents and deterrents – There are a variety of repellents you can utilize to get rid of those pesky skunks! From various scents like cayenne pepper, chili powder, and citrus to ready-made packages like granular seeds and predator urine.
Now you can rest assured that a skunk is not an animal to be afraid of or to fear. They can become a nuisance for you and your neighbors but the important thing to note is that if you do not disturb them then they will not disturb you.
We hope this blog post helped you out! Take care and be sure to check out Pest Pointers again in the future!
Caro, T., Stankowich, T., Kiffner, C., & Hunter, J. (2013). Are spotted skunks conspicuous or cryptic?. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 25(2), 144-160.
Cuyler, W. K. (1924). Observations on the habits of the striped skunk (Mephitis mesomelas varians). Journal of Mammalogy, 5(3), 180-189.
Wood, W. F. (1999). The history of skunk defensive secretion research. The Chemical Educator, 4(2), 44-50.
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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