When skunks feel threatened, they give a warning before spraying. A skunk will growl, spit, fluff its fur, shake its tail and stomp their rear feet on the ground. Then they start running at you and stomping. If you don’t know what’s good for you by then, you probably deserve the spraying. (Dogs are not known for figuring out what’s good for them.) If you happen upon a skunk and are lucky enough to see the warning, get away FAST. A skunk can spray its victim as far as 10 feet away! All of these warnings are an effort to display their smelly intentions before they actually use their spray.
It takes 10 to 12 days to replenish their stinky supply. The natural production of their offensive spray isn’t quick. It can take nearly two weeks to make enough for just a few shots. So a skunk will try its repertoire of defensive mechanisms before actually spraying.
Skunks will usually avoid conflict and, most frequently, choose flight over fight. Unless they’re suddenly scared, they give you lots of warning before they spray. They will lift their tail like a flag! That lift gets the tail out of the way of the spray, but also says, “Look here, I’m a skunk. Don’t you know what skunks do? Shouldn’t you be leaving now?”