Alberta Campgrounds | Meeting Skunks While Camping
Even though skunks are native to Alberta, and are most likely living in all Alberta campgrounds. Chances are quite low that hikers and campers will encounter them on any regular basis.
The reason why, is because skunks are nocturnal animals. And typically only come out at night. However, because they are waking up at dusk, to start foraging for their food. This is the time of day that campers and hikers. Will be more likely to encounter this small mammal.
However, skunks are mostly defenceless animals. And if they hear other animals, or people in the area. They will usually steer clear, and go somewhere else even before people are aware that skunks are around.
Because of this, it can be very helpful. If hikers and campers want to avoid a skunk encounter. To make a little bit of noise as they are walking. Whether this means heavier footsteps, talking quietly to fellow hikers. Or even putting small bells on their shoes or knapsack.
Can be enough of a gentle noise, to alert their presence to not only skunks. But other animals, who will choose to move along, rather than run into people.
However, if a skunk is with their offspring, or if they are focused on foraging for food. They may not steer clear of people. Which can result with a person coming face-to-face with the skunk.
If this is the case, people should understand that they need to stop walking immediately and to be quiet. This is to avoid startling the skunk any more than they already are. That might cause them to go into their defence postures.
This is the first sign that skunks are getting ready to deploy their spray. If they feel threatened, able stomp their feet, start hissing at the potential predator. And make some threatening motions like they are going to charge.
And while this can be frightening, when people are going to Alberta campgrounds. They need to understand that skunks are never going to charge. They just want to frighten people away.
If they see a skunk doing any of these things. That is a person’s cue to back away from the skunk slowly and hopefully that will show the skunk that they are not a threat. So that the skunk will also run away.
Skunks can spray an extremely far distance away. So as a person backs away, they need to continue being quiet. In hopes that the skunk will run away as well. They can spray up to 3 m away, and with shocking accuracy.
If a skunk is with their offspring. They will be even more defensive. It is why it is even more important if there are offspring present. That people act even quicker to stop moving and to be quiet.
Despite the fact that skunks are found in virtually all Alberta campgrounds across the province. There are very few skunk sprays every year. Showing that skunks really do want to avoid people.
And the more people know what to do when they encounter these gentle creatures. They will be able to escape unscathed as well.
Alberta Campgrounds | Meeting Skunks While Camping
Many people are fearful about coming face-to-face with the skunk while exploring Alberta campgrounds. But this is not necessary. Because skunks are more afraid of humans than humans are of them.
However, if people are taking with their dog. And their dog is not on a leash. Or is not able to be calmed down when they see a skunk. People can find themselves at the receiving end of the skunks spray.
In fact, dogs are only second to owls in natural predators to skunks. And virtually no other predators want to tangle with the skunk. Because of their reputation of spraying their spray.
In fact, would be predators like coyotes, badgers, and foxes. Will steer clear from the skunk. Because they want to avoid getting a face full of their spray.
Since there spray can cause temporary blindness, as well as skin irritations. And even nausea and vomiting in people who get sprayed. Anyone who has been sprayed by a skunk once. Will want to stay far away from a skunk in the future.
However, if people ask only startle a skunk. Or if there animal gets sprayed by a skunk because they did not know to leave one alone. They may end up covered in the oily liquid that smells like sulphuric acid.
Because the spray can cause temporary blindness. The most important thing is for people to rinse their eyes out with cool water if they have it in their eyes.
They should avoid rubbing their eyes, to avoid running the oil farther into the mucous membrane of their eyes. Despite the fact that it is most likely going to be era to hating.
For the rest of their body, anything acidic. Can help cut through the oil of the skunk spray. And break down not just the oil, but dissipate the smell.
This is why many people have heard that tomato juice is an effective treatment. This is because tomatoes are actually quite acidic. And can break down the oil.
However, people no longer have to resort to bathing in a bathtub full of tomato juice. Any acidic liquid can do the trick. And many seasoned campers to Alberta campgrounds. Like to carry 3% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda just for this purpose.
By mixing 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide and a quarter cup of baking soda. Can help people and pets who have been on the wrong end of a skunk. Clean themselves up, and it dissipate the smell fairly quickly.
They might have to wash themselves three or even four times. But the sooner they can dissipate the smell, the sooner they can minimize their nausea and vomiting. As well as watery eyes and blindness.
While being sprayed by a skunk is unpleasant. It is actually nothing to fear. And if people can get rid of that fear before they go to Alberta campgrounds. It can help them remain calm if they do encounter a skunk. So that they do not react in a way that puts them at risk for getting sprayed in the first place.