Both male and female skunks spray as a defense mechanism when they feel threatened. Males spray while competing against other males during breeding season. If a female does not welcome a male's advances, she sprays him instead of mating.
A skunk only carries 15 cc of its musky liquid at a time, which is enough for five sprays. It takes a week to 10 days to produce more; therefore, spraying is the skunks last resort.
Before it sprays, a skunk goes through a series of warning signs to deter threats. These warning signs include hissing, stomping its feet and lifting its tail.