Love and awful smells are in the air as skunk mating season begins

Look out for more skunks around as they search for love

By Alayna Jones - Intern

ROANOKE, Va. - Do you smell that? Skunks are feeling the love around Valentine's Day as their mating season starts February.

While skunks help keep down the rodent and bug population, they sure can stink!

According to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, striped skunks are the most common species of skunks in Virginia. They are a little bigger and do not have as strong a scent as their counterpart, the Eastern Spotted Skunk. 

Striped skunks start breeding in late February and typically only have one litter. 

Males spray each other as they fight over females for their love. Females will spray males they don't want to mate with, and the smell can reach up to a mile away. 

So what can you do if you start to smell a skunk nearby? 

Do not get near them, since their spray reaches up to 15 feet away. Skunks don't have great eyesight, so making noise can scare them away. 

If you do get sprayed you can buy "Skunk Off."

According to University of Tennessee Extension Agent Neal Denton, you can also make your own version by mixing one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup of baking soda and one to two tablespoons of dish soap. 

Wearing rubber gloves, mix the solution in a large container to de-skunk yourself, work into a lather and leave it on for five minutes or until the bubbling ceases.