Alberta Campgrounds | Camping With Skunks Nearby
Whether people are going to Alberta campgrounds for the day, or for a longer overnight camping trip. They need to understand that there is likely going to be skunks nearby.
The reason why, is because skunks are native to Alberta. And can be found in all Alberta campgrounds throughout the province.
And while skunks have a very bad reputation. That reputation is undeserved. Skunks are very timid creatures. That only have a bad reputation because of their one and only defence mechanism.
While the older that skunks spray is extremely unpleasant. It is the only way they can get away from their predators. And save their life.
In fact, skunks only spray as the last line of defence. When running away, or trying to frighten their predators does not work.
Also, skunks can be very beneficial to have around for many reasons. Not only are there natural predators fearful of them. Because of that spray. Which means natural predators such as coyotes, badgers and foxes. Often stay far away from these small animals.
Skunks also eat insects as their main food source. And while farmers love having them around. Because they can eat the insects that will damage their crops. If skunks are around campgrounds. They can eat a lot of the pests that can make camping less enjoyable.
Therefore, skunks do not deserve this terrible reputation. And are often very harmless, and meek creatures. That simply want to raise their babies and eat their food.
When encountering a skunk in Alberta campgrounds. The first thing that people need to do is simply stop moving. While there nose and ears work exceptionally well. Their eyes are not so good. Which means if a person stops moving, they can immediately stop appearing threatening this small mammal.
This will allow the animal to run away safely. If they do not run away. Many people can shine a flashlight once at the skunk. In an effort to scare it away.
If the skunk starts to run away, people can start moving backwards very slowly. Never taking their all I off the animal. So that they know what direction it is going in.
Ultimately, skunks do not want to spray. Because once they spray, they need another 7 to 10 days to develop more of the secretion. And so until that time, they are left completely defenceless.
Because of this, if people can identify how a skunk is trying to frighten them away. And then leave the area quickly and quietly. They can avoid the skunk feeling like the only thing that it can do is spray.
If people have stopped moving, or started moving backwards and tried scaring the skunk away. But it still feels threatened. Perhaps because they are with their offspring.
They will do a certain amount of posturing. In order to frighten their predator away. This posturing can include a stamping their feet, pacing at their predator as well as acting like they are going to charge.
When a skunk starts doing this, people might want to leave very quickly. Because the next thing that the skunk will do is bend their hindquarters around to aim their scent glands which are located just under their tail. And spraying their predator.
Alberta Campgrounds | Camping With Skunks Nearby
Many campers and hikers are excited to see the wildlife in many Alberta campgrounds. And depending on the part of the province that people are travelling to. There can be a wide variety of animals to see.
From mountain goats and bighorn sheep in the mountains. Two deer, elk and moose. Some campgrounds are in bear country, and sightings of bears have been known to happen.
To songbirds, that can be exhilarating for birdwatchers to see. As well as squirrels and rabbits. Or even water birds. If people are camping near water. Such as ducks, Canadian geese and even pelicans or herons.
However, despite the fact that there are many animals that campers and hikers will want to see in Alberta campgrounds. One animal that people seem less excited about is that a skunk.
This is often because skunks have a bad reputation due to the fact that they have a defence mechanism that can stink very badly.
However, as this is the skunks only defence mechanism. They are typically very peaceful creatures. And will avoid confrontation as much as possible.
However, suddenly coming out of a bush and being startled. Or if there is an animal off leash like a dog. It can cause the skunk to be startled enough to spray.
If this is the case, knowing how to react to this, and minimize the effect of the spray is very important.
The first thing that people might notice is that this noxious solution causes skin rotation, temporary blindness if it is sprayed in their eyes. As well as watery eyes, runny noses, nausea and vomiting.
The first thing to do is to take cool water and rinse the eyes as much as possible with water. After that, it is very important to neutralize the oily liquid. And that can be done with an acid.
This is why tomato juice was often considered an effective skunk spray antidote. Because tomatoes are acidic in nature. However, it is not the most effective known treatment. But if it is the only thing on hand, it can work.
Of much better solution would be using the 3% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in order to minimize the oil in the skunk spray. Because this contains bleaching properties. It is very important to keep it out of people or animals eyes. As well as rinse it off quickly.
Because of this, people might need to rinse with this several times in order to neutralize the skunk oil. But diligence, can ensure that not only are they avoiding developing the severe skin irritation. But they are neutralizing the smell that could be detected by people five and a half kilometres away.
By understanding what to do when encountering a skunk. Both before, and after getting sprayed. Can bring enjoyment back to campers and hikers who are spending time in Alberta campgrounds.