Alberta Campgrounds | Encountering a Skunk

Alberta Campgrounds | Encountering a Skunk

Skunks can be found in all Alberta campgrounds because they are native to the province. And while they have quite a reputation. That reputation is not well-founded.

Skunks spray can be quite unpleasant. Causing skin the rotation, temporary blindness and even nausea. However, it is their last line of defence. And they only spray if they think their lives are in danger.

When skunks spray, not only did they deplete their energy significantly. But they also become defenceless for over a week. And until their body builds up the chemical reserves again. They are without a natural defence.

Therefore, understanding what to do when encountering a skunk. Can help appear as nonthreatening as possible to the animal. So that they will be more likely to run away. Then they would be to spray a person or pet.

In fact, it can be quite beneficial to have skunks in the area. Because natural predators such as coyotes or foxes will stay well away from skunks. Because they do not want to get sprayed. Which can ensure that when Alberta campgrounds have skunks in them. Other predators are often not present as well.

People are likely to encounter skunks when they come out at sunset when they wake up to do their foraging for insects. Whether they are coming back from a height, or walking to the washroom or the shower. They might come face-to-face with this animal.

The skunk is more likely to be more frightened of the human then the other way around. So the first thing that people should do is simply stop walking.


By being as silent and still as possible. Can encourage the skunk to feel free to run away to safety. If the skunk does not immediately run away. Using a flashlight to flashlight once at the skunk can help encourage them to run away.

However, if people are closer to the animal then they are comfortable. Or if they have their babies with them. They might be more defensive. And can start posturing, which will hopefully scare their predators away. So they do not have to spray.

This posturing will include hissing, stomping their feet as well as acting like they are going to charge. However, the skunk will not charge. Because they have no way of attacking. This is just a motion that they do to frighten off the predators.

At this point, people can start slowly backing away, in hopes of indicating to the skunk that they are leaving so that it does not feel threatened enough to spray.

In fact, skunks often spray their nest that has their babies in it. In order to frighten predators away from their babies.

Therefore, if people are walking through Alberta campgrounds and start to smell a skunk smell which is similar to sulphuric acid.

They can assume that might mean that there is a nest of babies nearby. And by leaving the area quickly, can help avoid an encounter with the skunk who might be protecting their offspring.

Alberta Campgrounds | Encountering a Skunk

It is not often that hikers or campers in Alberta campgrounds encounter a skunk. Mostly because they are nocturnal creatures that are active only at night.

However, people who are coming back from a hike, or who are walking to the washroom either at dusk or the middle of the night. They unexpectedly come across this animal.

While a skunk will not want to spray as a first line of defence. They will if they feel that there life is in danger. And sometimes, no matter what a person does to appear as nonthreatening. A might end up spraying them.

Skunk spray contains chemicals that cause severe skin irritation. As well as temporary blindness if it gets sprayed in the eyes. And fast action is needed to minimize discomfort. First, people can rinse their eyes out with cool water. In order to wash as much of the oily substance out of their eyes as possible.

The skunk smell can actually be detected by human noses up to five point 6 km away. And for this reason, people or pets who have been sprayed. Need to stay outside.

If they go indoors, they can cause nausea, vomiting, watery eyes and running noses. In people nearby. So to avoid this, to allow people to help is much as possible. The affected person or animal needs to stay outdoors.

In order to neutralize the oil. People need to use something acidic to break down the spray. This is why tomato juice was often known as a common cure for skunk spray. Because of the acid of the tomatoes could cut through the oil.


However, a more effective solution could be created using 3% hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. However, caution needs to be taken when using this solution. Because it has a bleaching effect. And can be damaging if it is accidentally sprayed in the eyes.

It might take three or four rinses of this solution to neutralize the oil. But by washing with it and quickly rinsing to avoid being affected by the bleach. Can be very helpful at minimizing the skunk smell.

In addition to hydrogen peroxide, campers and hikers to Alberta campgrounds might have white vinegar on hand. And that can even be enough of an acid to break down the oil skunk spray.

Anyone who is camping or hiking in Alberta. Should bring either hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Or white vinegar. Just like they would carry a first-aid kit. To prepare themselves in case they or their animal comes across skunk.

However, by knowing what to do in order to minimize the likelihood of a skunk spraying is important. It is also why people should keep their pets on a leash at all times in Alberta campgrounds.

So that they can control their dog if they encounter a skunk. So that the dog does not threaten the skunk, will cause the dog and their owner to get sprayed.

Skunks can be found in all Alberta campgrounds. And knowing the best way to encounter one. Can ensure that campers and skunks alike, can peacefully coexist in nature.