San Francisco, CA – Experts have warned residents to be on the lookout for any skunks in the area.
As the animals enter mating season, the skunks are spraying anything and everything in their attempt to find a mate. UPI explains the smell is found just about everywhere you turn in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Officials urged dog and cat owners to keep their animals inside during mating season. More people and their pets are sprayed during January and February than any other time of the year.
Kelle Kacmarcik, wildlife solutions manager for Wildcare rehabilitation hospital, suggested that home owners should make a lot of noise before venturing outdoors in order to scare the animals away. Although they are generally portrayed as aggressive, Kacmarcik said skunks are actually very docile.
“They are out there competing for females and competing for territory. The females spray the males when they don’t want to mate. Then the males are competing, so they spray one another, and then, since they are so focused on breeding, they aren’t paying attention to us and they get startled easily.”
The San Francisco Chronicle explains that skunks generally give most folks a warning before unleashing their spray. While some lift their tails and stomp their feet before the attack, other will do a kind of handstand to let you know they mean business.
Since skunks are pretty much born and raised in backyards throughout San Francisco, most of them aren’t inherently afraid of human beings. This means the animals can be found digging through area trash cans and wood piles if the items are not properly secured.
The San Francisco Animal Control and Care website advises people not to panic if they encounter a skunk. Instead, experts suggests backing away slowly and quietly in an effort to keep the animal from becoming agitated.