Why Do Skunks Spray Every Night? (3 Reasons Why)

Smelling skunks during the day isn’t so pleasant. Smelling these animals at night when you’re trying to wind down, relax and sleep can be worse. If this is happening to you, you may wonder, why do skunks spray every night? This article looks into it 

Skunks spray at night because they are nocturnal animals, these animals spray at night because they are up at night. The main reason why they spray is that they are being threatened 

Why do skunks spray every night?

Skunks are nocturnal animals, these animals are usually active during the night and are asleep during the day. They’ll be asleep during the day and are thus less active, they don’t spray when they’re asleep. Reasons why you’ll smell their skunk spray every night include: 

They’re being threatened:

A skunk’s spray is one of the only methods of defense that these animals have, and it’s quite a good one.

If a human or an animal gets too close to the skunk, then the animal will spray as a warning to the attacker to get away. Spraying every night may mean that the animal feels threatened every night. 

They’re dinner:

If there are many skunks and skunk predators in the area, then the small mammals are likely being killed and eaten every night, or very frequently. You can smell skunk spray from up to 2km away, the killing, and consequently the smell, can be coming from quite far away.

Owls are frequent skunk predators, these birds can’t smell, because of this, they won’t be put off by skunk spray. Skunks spray when they’re killed, smelling skunk spray every night may mean that skunks are being killed quite frequently in your area.

It’s mating season:

The mating season is a cutthroat time for many animals skunks included. Male skunks fight each other for the opportunity to mate with the females.

These animals will use any trick in their arsenal when fighting, spraying included. If you smell skunk spray at night, a female skunk is likely being fought over. 

Other reasons why they smell other than their spray: 

Their body odor:

Skunks don’t have to spray in order to smell bad. These animals don’t have the most pleasant body odor. Their body odor may not be as strong as their spray, but it’s noticeable enough, especially if the animal is close to you.

If you can smell a skunk, the animal may be living in your attic or somewhere else in your home. Their normal body odor has a sweet musky scent 

Do skunks spray for no reason? 

Skunks don’t spray for no reason, these animals only spray as a last resort if they’re feeling threatened and if they are fighting for a mate. They will also spray involuntarily if they are killed.

Can breathing skunk spray make you sick? 

Yes, breathing skunk spray can make you sick. This spray smells quite strongly, it can give you nausea. If you’re unlucky, and the spray gets into your mouth, you can develop diarrhea.

The spray can also cause breathing difficulty, especially if you already have breathing problems like asthma or COPD. If the spray gets into your eyes, you can develop eye irritation and temporary blindness depending on how direct the hit is.

Can you die from skunk spray? 

This spray may cause you to develop a few unwanted side effects, which can cause serious distress, but there have been no reported cases of someone dying from skunk spray 

Do skunks spray when you shoot them? 

If you’re tired of skunks spraying every night you may consider shooting them, this may or may not be legal in your area, you’ll have to check, but the answer to this question is yes, shooting them will likely result in spraying as well. 

Skunks spray when they die, regardless of the method of death.

In addition to these animals spraying when you shoot them, these animals will also spray blood all over the place if you shoot them. The blood that sprays when you shoot a skunk can be dangerous as it may be contaminated with diseases. Some of these diseases can be transferred to humans. 

If you choose this route, it is recommended that you keep some distance between you and the animal. 


In conclusion, skunks will spray for a variety of reasons.

The reasons can be that the animal is being threatened and is spraying as a way to get the threat to back off, it can be that the animal is being killed and is spraying involuntarily, or, because it’s skunk mating season and the males are spraying each other while fighting for a female.

This animal will spray if shot, it will also splatter blood everywhere if shot.

Skunk spray can make you sick, but you likely won’t die because of it. 

If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other skunk related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: Essential Oils To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell In The House, Can Skunks Climb Walls?, Using Apple Cider Vinegar To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell In The House, Is Not Addressing a Skunk Smell In The House Dangerous?,

Why Do Skunks Spray Every Night? (3 Reasons Why)
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