I passed a bunch of skunks this morning. They were in the weeds right on the side of the trail. I came less than 3 feet from 5 or more skunks that ranged in age from young adults to babies. One young adult had his tail up, but facing away from me.

I’m wondering how lucky I am to not have been sprayed. Does anyone know much about skunks?

Here is some more detail: I’ve been riding at a park called Bayfront Park on the San Francisco Bay peninsula (in Menlo Park). The park is right on the Bay, surrounded by I don’t know how many millions of people. In other words, there are always a bunch of people at this park. In the past month or so, the grass/weeds have grown very tall. The open fields from two months ago are now covered with grass that is roughly 3 feet tall. Must be the perfect place for skunks to rummage around.

It was about 8 AM, so I figured the skunks were all asleep. Plus there were other people riding, walking, running. So, I figured it was safe. I was on a trail that was 3-5 feet wide and had thick grass on each side. Out of the corner of my eye I could see that I was passing something black and white (just in the weeds, only inches from the trail). So, I looked down and was literally passing within 2 or 3 feet of a young skunk with his tail up, but not facing me. Man, I felt lucky. I rode on for another 30 to 50 feet and then passed 3 to 5 (or more) skunks just in the weeds on the side of the trail. Some were babies. None of these skunks had their tails up.

OK, this made me wonder. Are the skunks not threatened by humans passing them in this park? I’m surprised that they did not spray me when I was that close (for a moment I felt surrounded by skunks). I wonder if they won’t spray me unless I provoke them, or fall off my unicycle right in front of them, rather than pass by quickly.

I figure that I won’t go back to this park for a few months. I’ll wait for the grass to die down. But, that’s a bummer. I really like riding at this park!

Are there any skunk “experts” out there who can comment on whether or not I should press my luck?

Skunk expert, hmmm, well I have dogs and live in the skunk capital of Tennessee, in total I have had more than forty skunked dogs in the past ten years, does that qualify as an expert :astonished:

Skinks don’t generally care about humans, I have never been skunked and know of very few human skunkings, but it’s possible. In general, skunks are very timid and shy, they make great pets once they are deskunked :smiley:

About two years ago I started “belling” my dogs, I have them wear hunting bells on their collars to “alert” the skunks. Since doing this our skunkings have gone from one every couple weeks to one every three to four months :sunglasses:

Skunks have two breeding seasons, Spring and Fall, so they are out in force twice a year, getting frisky with th elady skunks. Dusk and dawn are the high times, and of course night time, but most of our skunkings happen at dusk.

So, put a bell on your shorts/pack, slow down around corners, and if you smell a skunk, you can sorta expect that there is one nearby :slight_smile:

Personally, I like the little guys, they are really quite sweat and they don’t cause any problems other than the stink.

How to de-skunk your critter:

One Quart Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
1 Tablespoon Dish Detergent (Dawn or similar)
1 Teasoon Vanilla

Wash the dog with soap and water first.

Apply the above concoction premixed to areas hit by the skunk, avoid getting it in the eyes. Allow to soak in for a minute or two, rinse, repeat as necessary.

We keep a couple bottles of Hydrogen Peroxide under the sink…

I may have to start doing that for my non-skunked gear. It’s starting to attract the lady skunks during these mating seasons.

You know way too much about skunks.
We get them here too, but I think the grizzlies, black bears, mountain lions, and wolves help to keep their numbers within reason. :wink: