SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — It’s still officially winter but in the Bay Area it feels like spring, not only to humans, but skunks, as well.

There’s an all too familiar odor wafting in the air… and it’s not the smell of magnolia.

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It’s like our favorite cartoon ‘polecat’ Pepe Le Pew showed us, things start to heat up when the flowers start to bloom. To put it plainly, for skunks it’s mating season and they are spraying the objects of desire, all over the place. Multiple males go after a female, and the female sprays them off (that’s skunk-speak for giving the cold shoulder) and all that love really stinks.

Unfortunately, a lot of these libidinous little critters wind up as roadkill.

SF Chronicle staff writer Peter Fimrite did some research on the phenomenon. He told KCBS, “These randy little guys are not paying attention to anything else but trying to find females and they wander out into roads…and they are spraying anything that moves…that’s why you see them getting hit by cars, they are so eager they don’t see where they’re going.”

Fimrite said the skunks have been mating since January and it’s hitting a peak now. The weather has gotten so warm they were fooled into thinking it was spring early. It was 80 degrees in San Francisco the first weekend in March.

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Animal control agencies up and down the state of California are reporting a huge spike in requests from people who have skunks under their homes.

So how do you keep those randy stink badgers away from your house?

“Keep water away,” said Fimrite. “One of the reasons they’re being seen around is because they are looking for water and food sources.”

As for dogs Fimrite warns to “keep them on a leash when you’re out, and keep an eye on them.” Getting skunked is no fun. That stench lingers for quite some time.

Skunks are also a major source of rabies. Don’t try to catch them. Even if you don’t get bitten, they can shoot you from 10 feet away, with amazing accuracy.

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Humans will have to just wait for the early mating season to end and hopefully, by summer we can all breath easy again.