Michigan Skunks and How Tomato Soup Doesn’t Really Work
You'll smell em before you see them. Chances are if you walk up on one and surprise or corner it, you're gonna be sorry.
Meet our good buddy Pepe Le Pew...the skunk.
Skunks in Michigan are recognizable with their black and white stripes. Generally skunks live under deck and porches. Skunks also dig holes and create dens underground. Skunks feast on grubs and other insects below your soil. (Michigan Wildlife Solutions)
I have only seen a live one in the wild while walking to work. It was dark out one morning and while crossing a parking lot, I saw what I thought was a cat. And luckily it was across the parking lot from me. Amazingly enough I hadn't smelled anything so I guess it wasn't frightened or activated. But as soon as I could focus and see that it was indeed a skunk, trust and believe I stayed way the heck away from this monster.
Apparently, they will give you some kind of sign that they are about to let loose with skunk juice by raising their tails and patting their feet. If you see this slow your role and back...away...very...slowly.
I had thought that they actually sprayed from their tails. However after watching the video above and doing some research, I now know it shoots out of their anus. It looks to be a yellow liquid. And they can spray it up to ten feet away.
We all know the horrors of the smell.
The spray can go ten feet and the can linger for up to about a mile and a half.
Everytime I walk outside of my house or work and I smell SKUNK, I automatically back up and go back into wherever I just came out of. I never want to get sprayed by one.
Everything I know says that if you do get sprayed, prepare yourself for a bath of tomato soup. And I figure that would be a pretty big bathtub full. However, that's not the case nor is it the best solution. In fact, it doesn't really work. It just smells like it does.
...tomato juice "seems to work because at high doses of skunk spray the human nose quits smelling the odor, and the tomato juice odor is instead detected. (olfactory fatigue). When this happens, the odor of tomato juice can easily be detected." (The Spruce)
The following will work better and you should use it immediately after being sprayed.
- 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon liquid detergent
Mix in a large, open container and use immediately. According to the Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California, it can be safely used on people, pets, clothing, and furniture. (The Spruce)
Just don't bottle or cover it as it will explode.
And the only thing I could imagine being worse than getting sprayed by a skunk is having the stuff you're using to get rid of the smell blow up on you.
More fun skunk science is below.
It's really quite fascinating as long as you're not the one being sprayed.