Forget roses and chocolates, February has a different kind of aroma in the air, and it's not a pleasant one. Now is the time of the year when striped skunks are emerging from their winter slumber, not for a romantic candlelit dinner, but for a season of pungent passion. Skunk mating season is upon us, and here is what you need to know.

Flo The Skunk Arrives At Edinburgh Zoo
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When Is Skunk Mating Season?

As opposed to us humans, whose mating season has no beginning or end, striped skunks prefer to procreate during the early Spring, from late February to early March. The fact that the mating window is so small coupled with the fact that skunks will have multiple mates, means more skunks will be out and about, and that means an increased potential for more of that stank - so beware.

Flo The Skunk Arrives At Edinburgh Zoo
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Avoid Getting Sprayed

Skunks aren't particularly fast, nimble, or ferocious, so they use an incredibly stinky spray as their first line of defense. Let's be honest - to call what comes out of a skunk "stinky" is an insult to stinky things. If you or someone/something you know has ever been sprayed, then you know how terrible that experience is - it goes way beyond just being "stinky." That's why it's so important to avoid getting sprayed if at all possible, which shouldn't be too difficult for most of us. Here's what the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has to say about it...

Striped skunks are most active at night, although seeing one during the day is possible, too. Sometimes a skunk that has recently felt threatened will be smelled before it will be seen. Skunks have a better defense than most wildlife, with their ability to spray their noxious musk, but remember to always keep a respectful distance from all wildlife you are trying to view. Because skunks have poor eyesight and may be used to an area full of people, they may not see you or hear you, even if you think they should. They may stomp their feet or arch their back if they are feeling uncomfortable and are on the verge of spraying.

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So next time you catch a whiff of a skunk's "unique" perfume, try to remember that they are just like me and you - out here trying to find love. Just imagine a way less creepy Pepe' Le Pew, smile, and keep your distance.

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