On my nightly bike ride in my neighborhood I spotted an animal in the road crossing after a climbing a large hill. My neighborhood is brand new and tends to have some wildlife. It was definately a skunk and very large. It's tail rose in the air as I got very close and I quickly made a quick U-turn and back DOWN the hill I just climbed. I was probably within 10 feet of it. I am not sure how close you have to be to them, but I did not want to be sprayed. This has happened with a racoon before as well as stray cats. Fast approaching bikes make little sound.
Heh, even if you did make a sound, a skunk might still stand its ground. Skunks are used to being able to flash their tails at a dog or a bear and have it run away. They don't realise that it doesn't work on cars, and that's probably why they get run over so often.
I've heard their range is about 15 feet. I do not trust that information. If one is facing away, and standing on it's front legs only, you can't believe how much distance I give them.
I've been sprayed once at point blank range (when I was little, I tried to pick one up). My dog also got sprayed a couple years ago. It's easier to get the smell off a human than off a furry dog's schnoz and the rest of their coat. Skunks are still one of my favorite animals.
When i was out for a ride around the city i found a nice spot with picnic tables in the corner of a park. It was nice because it was away from where all the people hang out and it had a great view of the bay. I always smelt skunks around that area, but finally saw one one day. I was sitting on the table, and i jumped up very quickly. A couple people were down the path a little and saw me jump and asked if i saw a skunk. When i said yes they told me that they have seen 4 or 5 at one time, and the area is known for the family of skunks. Great! Now one of my favorite new places in the city is skunk territory! No wonder the area is usually empty.
This one was luckily facing me with paws firmly planted to the street. I realized it was a skunk as it's tail was almost telescopically raising in the air as it stared me down. I was cursing the fur ball as I descended the once conquered hill. It could have been much worse as I didn't even get sprayed. After doing a search in the forums, I was surprised how many bikers have been sprayed. I still like seeing the critters around the neighborhood though. I commonly see deer and wild turkey too.
Yea, I think I'd rather see more skunks around than all those danged suicidal squirrels all the time. Heck, I'd almost rather get perma-sprayed and never have to see another squirrel...
In a lot of (but not all) cases, the skunk will usually warn you first by tapping its front paws on the ground before it turns around and sprays.
Just today I posted this to a thread entitled: Funniest thing you've seen when commuting?
Originally Posted by Nermal
"This is maybe not funny, but strange and memorable. One morning while riding through a Boston suburb about 6:00 AM, I came apon a skunk with its head stuck in a Yoplait yogurt container, which is somewhat conical (the frustum, the basal part of a solid cone or pyramid formed by cutting off the top by a plane parallel to the base), with the opening at the narrower end. It was meandering sightless near the street and likely would have wandered into the path of a car and was a really pitiable sight. Thinking of a local cynical (and anti-bicyclist) radio talk show host, who comments, 'No good deed goes unpunished,' I got off the bike, removed the container and quicky jumped back. Fortunately I didn't get sprayed.
"I found out about four years later that an employee where I work witnessed this event. He is a parking lot attendant, and on a rare occasion when I needed to drive from work, he reminded me of that event and waved me through for free. So take heart, Good Samaritans; we pass this way only once."
Funny, I just posted this in our local forum too.
In case you need it...best way to get rid of skunk smell:
1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (any drugstore)
1/4 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1 teaspoon of liquid soap, such as Dawn
Mix and immediately use to scrub yourself (or pets that have been skunked, etc.).
DO NOT STORE THE LEFTOVERS. Mix a new batch each time.