Alberta Campgrounds | Tips for Encountering Skunks


Alberta Campgrounds | Tips for Encountering Skunks

There are many things that campers should be prepared for when they visit Alberta campgrounds. Whether this is during the summer, or any other time of the year.

In addition to dressing appropriately, and packing enough equipment for whatever activity they are doing. It is also important that hikers and campers know what to expect. When they encounter Alberta wildlife.

No matter what time of year they are exploring the province. There is a good chance that they are going to come across a wide variety of animals.

From squirrels, rabbits and birds. To larger animals, such as coyotes, foxes and deer and depending what time of year they are visiting. And what part of the province they are going to, hikers and campers can see elk, bighorn sheep and even bearers in many parts of the province.

For the most part, the recommendation is for people to keep their distance. Leave the area as it is safe to do so. And avoid trying to approach the animal.

And while it might be tempting for many people to try and get close to a wild animal while visiting campgrounds. There is one animal that many people have no problem in avoiding.

When encountering skunks, they are most known for their funky aroma that they can spray from a great distance. Making many people eager to leave the presence of a skunk when they encounter one.

However, they must know how to do so without startling the animal. To avoid being sprayed with their defence mechanism. This is one thing that all campers and hikers need to be aware of. And know how to do. When visiting Alberta campgrounds at any time of year.


The first thing that is important to know is that skunks are native to Alberta. And will be found in any campgrounds across the province.

When they do encounter a skunk. Which is most likely to be at dusk, when they come out foraging for their food which is insects. The first thing that people need to do is stop moving immediately.

Mostly, this is going to help the skunk feel safe in is keeping. And they will simply run away. However, if this does not happen. Because their eyesight is so poor.

People should remain still. And if they have a flashlight shining briefly once under the skunk. To help frighten it away.

If the skunk refuses to leave the area. People should very quietly, and very slowly back away from the animal. The idea will be to help them get as far enough away from the skunk as possible. Until the skunk no longer feels threatened.

However, it is very important that they do not turn their back on the skunk. So that they know at all times where the skunk is, in case it starts coming back towards them.

By being aware of how to encounter a skunk safely. Can help anyone who is visiting Alberta campgrounds. To leave the encounter unscathed. Keeping in mind that the skunk is going to be more afraid of them then they are of it.

Alberta Campgrounds | Tips for Encountering Skunks

Coming across wildlife while visiting Alberta campgrounds can be an exhilarating experience. And as long as people are keeping their distance from the animal. It can be a safe one as well.

However, when people encounter skunks. Their smelly reputation often precedes them. And often have many people scrambling to get away from this harmless animal.

For the most part, people are not going to encounter a skunk very often. As they are nocturnal, and only come out at night to forage for insects which are their food.

Also, because skunks are mainly defenceless. They will want to run away more than they will want to attack the people that encounter them.

Ultimately, when people are going to Alberta. They need to understand that a skunk only sprays as their last defence. And they do not want to deploy that defence unless it is absolutely necessary.

The reason why, is because once skunks spray the chemical at their potential predators. Not only does it deplete their energy. But it also makes them defenceless for up to ten days. While their body makes more of the chemical they use for their defence.

However, if hikers or campers make a lot of noise if they encounter a skunk. Such as screaming, jumping, or turning to run away. That can cause the skunk to feel threatened. And they will spray potential predators if they think it will save their life.


The first thing that people need to keep in mind. Is that skunks can spray extremely long distances. Up to 3 m, or 10 feet away from themselves.

The oily liquid that they spray will smell a lot like sulphuric acid. And can cause a wide variety of symptoms in victims. Such as skin irritation, temporary blindness, watery eyes and runny nose.

A skunk smell can cause nausea and vomiting. Even in people who are close to the smell. And the skunk can be smelled by the human nose up to five point 6 km away.

Because of this, campers or hikers who have been sprayed by a skunk while visiting Alberta campgrounds. Should stay outside and avoid going indoors. Whether that is a store, a house or even a trailer while they are camping.

If they go into an enclosed space, they can cause anyone they come into contact with to be nauseous or start to vomit. Therefore, if they need to buy supplies in order to rid themselves of the skunk smell. Or if they need to be treated. They should do this outside. Whether they are less likely to affect those who are helping them.

Ultimately, the reason why people say tomato juice is a great neutralizer of the smell. Is because the acid in the tomatoes breaks down the chemical compound.

But anything acidic can do the trick. Which is why a much more effective solution is using 3% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda will work just as well.

By being aware of what to do when encountering a skunk. And how to get rid of the skunk smell. Can help people visiting Alberta campgrounds know exactly what to do when they encounter a skunk. So that they can escape unscathed, and without smelling like a skunk.