Alberta Campgrounds | Hiking With Skunks Nearby
Many hikers who have been to several different Alberta campgrounds realize how likely it is to encounter skunks. These ultimately are gentle creatures. Who have only one real defence mechanism. And often opt to run away instead of using it.
The reason why skunks want to avoid spraying. Is because not only does this deplete their energy. But it leaves them completely defenceless for up to ten days. While their body produces more chemical.
Therefore, skunks are far more likely to run away then confront a potential predator. Therefore, people need to know what they should do when they encounter this animal.
And while this stinky reputation has made people more afraid of them then they should be. The animal kingdom has noticed this reputation. And it is one of the reasons why skunks are very protected from their predators.
Typically, animals such as foxes, badgers and coyotes. Will pray small mammals like this. However, the skunks distinctive black and white stripes. Our own warning to potential predators. Who typically will stay away simply to avoid getting sprayed by this animal.
One of the only animals that seems to be unbothered by the skunks spray. Is the great horned owl. Who preys on these creatures. Because the skunks seems unable to see them coming. Or effectively spray them to keep them away.
However, while other animals are frightened of this small creature. Campers and hikers should not be. All they have to do when they encounter this mammal. Is simply to stop moving. Often, the skunk will be startled enough to run away themselves.
If they do not run away, they can be encouraged to do so if campers or hikers in Alberta campgrounds have a flashlight. By flashing the light once at the animal. Can frighten them enough into leaving.
People can start moving backwards very slowly and very quietly. Because while the skunks eyesight is terrible. Their ears and their nose work very well. So by getting as far away from the creature as possible. Can help minimize the skunk feeling threatened.
Even if the skunk decides they are being threatened. Before they spray, they will go through a variety of different postures. That are designed to frighten predators away from them.
The posturing can look like stamping of the feet and hissing. In addition to that, the skunk may look like it is going to charge. However, people should not be frightened of this. Because the skunk will not charge. Simply because they have no defence mechanism.
While skunks have very long claws. Those claws are designed for digging. Which is how they find the insects that they are going to eat. And how they dig their dens for them and their offspring to stay in.
If people notice this posturing, they should start to leave the area faster. Because after that, the skunk will raise their tail, and start spraying.
By understanding skunk behaviour. And what to do when encountering a skunk in Alberta campgrounds. Can help people ensure that they are not frightening this animal. So that the animal and the hiker can go their separate ways.
Alberta Campgrounds | Hiking With Skunks Nearby
There are many things that can draw hikers to Alberta campgrounds. To enjoy their hiking. Whether this is the gorgeous scenery.
Whether in the southern end of the province, with the hoodoos. Or the mountains to the west. Even the many lakes, and northern part of the province how have their immense beauty.
In addition to the gorgeous scenery. Each part of the province is known for their beautiful wildlife. Whether it is the mountain goats and bighorn sheep in the mountains. Or if it is the elk, deer or moose.
Even the smaller creatures like songbirds, ducks, squirrels and rabbits. Can be very enjoyable. To witness when people are on a hike in Alberta campgrounds.
However, there is one animal that many people are less thrilled to see. And that is the skunk. Typically, people will not see skunks until dusk. When they wake up to start foraging for their food.
They are nocturnal creatures, so people coming face-to-face with the skunk does not have been as often as people might think.
In addition to that, skunks do not want to spray. Because as it takes ten days to replenish that chemical. They are left defenceless.
However, from time to time whether it is because they are startled, or they are accompanied by an enthusiastic pets. People and their animals can come away from an experience with the skunk more smelly then they went into the event.
This is because the spray that skunks in mint is an oily liquid that smells like sulphuric acid. Not only can cause severe skin rotation, temporary blindness, watery eyes, runny nose as well as nausea and vomiting.
But it can also be smelled by the human nose up to five point 6 km away. Because of this, once people or animals have been sprayed. A need to stay outside until they have neutralized the older.
The reason why, is because if people go inside. Whether that is a house, at ten to or even a trailer. The people close by can become affected with watery eyes, runny noses, nausea and vomiting themselves.
The first thing that people should do is if they got sprayed in the eyes. To start rinsing their eyes with cool water. By doing this, they can wash the oil out of their eyes, and restore their vision.
To neutralize the oily secretion from the rest of their body. They can use an acid. This is why tomato juice was often used as as skunk antidotes. Because of the acid in the tomatoes.
However, any acid can work. And a solution made up of 3% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda can be extremely effective at neutralizing the oil and eliminating the smell. If hikers do not have hydrogen peroxide or baking soda on hand. Even white vinegar and water can do the trick.
By knowing what to have on hand. Can help ensure that if hikers accidentally come face-to-face with the skunk while in Alberta campgrounds. They will be able to neutralize the smell, so that they do not have to have their whole trip ruined by this uncommon encounter.