Q: What do I do if I have been sprayed or bitten by a skunk?
A: In most cases, skunks are eager to avoid people and seldom release their spray to defend themselves unless cornered or harmed. Before releasing their scent, they provide warnings by hissing, stamping their forefeet, and arching their tail over their backs. If you or your pets are sprayed by a skunk, diluted solutions of tomato juice, vinegar, bleach, or ammonia will help to remove the scent. Temporary blindness may result if the spray enters the eyes. Rinsing the eyes with water will speed recovery, and sight should return in 10 to 15 minutes.
Rabies in skunks is infrequent. However, like other wild animals, skunks may occasionally carry rabies. Abnormal behavior such as daytime feeding and travel, apparent confusion, and fearless behavior are characteristics of a rabid animal. If you witness a skunk with this behavior, avoid it and contact your local animal control officer. If accidentally bitten by a skunk, wash the area of the bite with hot soapy water, consult a physician immediately, and contact your local health department for information on rabies and rabies testing. In addition, contact your local police department and monitor the whereabouts of the animal, in case it is needed for rabies testing.
To have nuisance wildlife removed from your property a wildlife professional should be contacted. For contact information regarding wildlife issues visit RCE fact sheet FS887, Who to Call Regarding Wildlife Damage, contact your local RCE office, the Division of Fish and Game's Wildlife Control Unit in Clinton (908-735-8793) or local police department.
Note: Information attained from RCE fact sheet FS540, Wildlife and Homeowners: What's Best for Skunks, McLaughlin and Vodak.