Mild weather leads to baby boom... of skunks

CLAREMORE, Okla. — You've probably seen them, or smelled them.

FOX23 learned we are seeing more skunks in Green Country because of mild weather.

"That is one of the reasons why the population has had a little baby boom this year," said Annette King.

King runs Wild Heart Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Foyil.

She tells FOX23, typically skunks have one litter each year, in the spring.

This year's mild summer led to a second birthing season, and more skunk babies, or kittens, arrived in late August.

You can travel less than half a mile down 129th East Avenue, in Owasso, and find two skunks lying dead in the road.

King tells us her non-profit wildlife rescue organization is caring for some orphaned skunks from the most recent birthing season.

"Housing additions are going up in the middle of cow pastures everywhere, and so, a lot of times, they actually get surrounded and they have no where to forage for food, except for neighborhoods," said King.

King says there's one thing you can do to keep skunks away-- don't leave pet food outside at night.

"90% of the complaints that we have on skunks coming into human habitats is for pet food," said King.

She says you definitely don't want to be sprayed.

"I have been sprayed in the eyes, in the nose, in the mouth. It's all bad," said King.

FOX23 spoke with Ned Bruha, who runs a business called the Skunk Whisperer.

He tells us he's been busy lately.

Bruha says he removed a live skunk from the floral department of a local grocery store.

Bruha tells FOX23 you are most likely to see skunks out looking for food around dusk and dawn.

They'll spray as a defense mechanism, if you get within 10 feet of them.

"Skunks don’t want to spray you, they really don’t," said King.

"If you put your pet food away at night, 90% of the time these guys won’t even come around," said King.

King introduced us to Ozzie, a domestic skunk, with its scent glands removed.

It could not spray us, but King says if you or your pets are sprayed by a skunk, she has the recipe for a mixture to bathe with, that will erase the odor.

"A solution of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, follow it up with a mouthwash rinse, and your dog will be skunk-free and minty- fresh," said King.

She tells FOX23 in a few weeks you'll notice fewer skunks.

When we have our first freeze, they'll go underground for the winter.