Love stinks: Here's why you're smelling skunks more now in Northeast Ohio

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Have you noticed an increase in that stinky, skunky smell in the air lately?

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) we are smack in the middle of skunk mating season which runs from the end of February through March.

Looking for a mate means more of the black and white striped critters are on the move meaning your chances of seeing one, or smelling its musk, is increased this time of year.

"Skunks don't necessarily become aggressive per say during mating season. They are just on the move a lot more looking to mate which of course makes them more visible in neighborhoods and other places," Laurie Graber, an ODNR Wildlife Research Technician warned.

This also means the chances of a run in for your dog are increased.

"Before letting your dog out, especially at night, turn on the porch light to make sure no skunks or other wildlife for that matter are in your yard," Graber said. "Skunks like to travel along the side of houses where landscaping is or fence lines, so be sure to keep an eye out in those areas."

As a defensive move skunks can raise their tails and spray a terrible smelling musk.

"People can be sprayed by skunks, but not likely unless you corner the animal," Graber said. "If you come across a skunk, back away slowly and give it space to escape. They can spray up to 15 feet in distance. Skunks will normally warn you to back off by stomping their front feet on the ground and raising their tail."

If you've ever had the misfortune of being sprayed, or having a pet sprayed, the process of getting the smell off is a tough one.

Graber has a mixture that she recommends to get the skunk smell out:

  • 1 quart 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid soap or dish detergent
  • Mix these together and wash your dog or clothes in this mixture
  • Be sure to use this mixture immediately after it is created, as it is unstable
  • Let sit for five minutes and rinse with tap water afterward, and repeat if necessary
  • For spray in the eyes, flush with water as soon as possible

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