Alberta Campgrounds | Do Not Fear Skunks
Skunks have a reputation, and since they are native to Alberta, when people visit Alberta campgrounds. Whether they want to go camping or hiking. They might be fearful of running into this animal.
However, skunks have come to have this reputation, because of their defence mechanism. But this is only a last line of defence. To protect themselves from getting eaten by a predator.
And this works, because while animals of that size typically get eaten by things like wolves, coyotes and foxes. None of those animals eat skunks. Because they are so afraid of its defences.
However, since people who are camping or hiking are not meeting to eat this animal. There is no reason for them to be afraid of it. When people encounter skunks in Alberta campgrounds. There are many things that they can do to come out of the encounter without harm.
The first thing that they should do is simply stop moving and be quiet. Skunks do not have great eyesight. And people stopped moving, and are quiet. The skunk can feel free to run away from harm.
If they do not run away immediately. People can flash a flashlight once, as a way of frightening they skunk away.
They can then start moving very slowly backwards, continuing to be silent. In order to put as much distance in between the skunk and them as possible.
When hiking or camping with animals. They need to be on a leash at all times. So that people can control there animal from wanting to meet this animal. Causing the skunk to feel threatened and spray.
If the skunk is feeling threatened and they are not running away. They will do a number of posturing poses to threaten their predator to run away. And when they start doing this, people can start moving backwards faster, but still quietly.
These posturing movements include stomping their feet, hissing at the predator, and pretending to charge. However, they will not charge because they do not have any defence mechanisms that can help them.
So if these motions do not cause their predator to start moving away. That is when they will turn their hindquarters around, and lift their tail.
This is the final sign that they are going to spray, and most important for people to continue to move backwards. While keeping their eye on this animal.
Skunks will not want to spray, because not only does it deplete their energy. But it also leaves them defenceless for over a week. While their body makes more chemical to help protect themselves.
Skunks can spray up to 3 m away, which makes it very important for people to put as much distance in between themselves and the skunk at all times.
This is also a good reason why people should not want to stay and take pictures of this animal. Because it can go from foraging to food harmlessly, to wanting to spray predators area quickly.
When people are going to Alberta campgrounds to enjoy the scenery. They should always be aware that they could encounter a skunk. And what can help them ensure the encounter does not turn disastrous.
Alberta Campgrounds | Do Not Fear Skunks
Even though skunks have a bad reputation, it is often unfounded, and since they are native to the province when people go to Alberta campgrounds. They are most likely going to at some point encounter a skunk whether they know it or not.
Skunks are actually very beneficial to the ecosystem. Because they eat insects and pests. That can impact the ecosystem, and make it more pleasant for campers.
Even farmers love having skunks around, because they will eat the pests that threaten their crop. And because it will keep other predators away. Such as coyotes and foxes. Because they are fearful themselves of the skunks spray.
People who are camping in Alberta campgrounds also can feel relief. By knowing skunks do not like the smell of dog urine. So if they are camping with their dog. They skunk will be less likely to intrude in their campsite. Looking for food.
And while it is very important for people to understand how they should react when they encounter a skunk. To appear as nonthreatening as possible. So that the skunk will run away.
If they skunk has been startled suddenly. Or if a dog does not pay attention to their defensive posturing. The skunk may in fact spray their predator.
Because skunks can spray up to 3 m away, people do not have to be very close in order to get hit with this noxious irritant. It can cause skin irritation, temporary blindness if sprayed in the eyes.
And it can cause watery eyes, runny nose, nausea and vomiting. In people who smell the spray from close up.
The smell will be very similar to sulfur which smells like rotten eggs. And can be smelled up to five point 6 km away. Therefore, people and pets that have been sprayed should avoid going indoors. Other that is a building, house or a trailer.
If they go inside, it will concentrate the smell, and because those who are in the area to feel nauseous, vomit get watery eyes and runny noses.
Instead, the sprayed person or pet should stay outside. While they get a solution that they can wash with, that can neutralize the oil in the skunk spray as well as the smell.
While tomato juice has often been touted as a cure for skunk smell. This is because of the acid in the tomatoes. So anything that is acidic, can essentially break down the oil and neutralize the smell.
Because of this, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixed together can be an effective solution. However, people need to be careful to wash the solution off their skin or their pets for quickly because it can bleach.
Great care should also be taken to ensure that the hydrogen peroxide solution does not get into their or their pets eyes. And it might take two or three washes with this to eliminate the smell.
Or, if hydrogen peroxide is not on hand. Then white vinegar and water can be enough of a acid to neutralize the oil as well.
By knowing how to treat skunk spray. People can come to Alberta campgrounds prepared with the right ingredients, to mix up a batch of neutralizer to the skunk spray.
So that if they do encounter this gentle animal. If they end up startling it, they will know what to do to minimize the smell.