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Mephitophobia (from Latin mephitis, "noxious vapor" as given off by skunks), or simply skunkphobia, is the fear of skunks. Though skunks aren't harmful, its odor they give out is strong and unpleasant, which is an effective trigger of fear. They may have gotten sprayed by a skunk, leaving skunk odor on the clothes and on the body, or they just smelled the spray from the distance even though they didn't get sprayed. Mephitophobes would tend to avoid going outdoors except when seldom necessary while not opening windows in the residence.