Thursday, August 25, 2011

Master Skunk

Cute lil' stinker
Photo by Out at Bob's
Like a kung-fu master, the skunk travels peaceably through the world, secure in the knowledge of its own powers, and employing its weapon only as a last resort.

Before a skunk sprays, it gives its adversary an opportunity to back down and save face. A threatened striped skunk will arch its back and raise its tail to better advertise its warning colors, it may chatter its teeth, and when really worked up, it may stamp the ground with its forefeet. By the time it curls its body in a U-shape and completely raises its tail facing the intruder, it is too late.

Twin nipples usually tucked into the anus are everted and, looking over its shoulder, the provoked skunk lets fly with an amazingly well-aimed shot of a sulfurous N-butyl mercaptan in an oily, amber fluid. This can travel over 15 feet, and can be employed either as a mist or in jets, as the situation requires. And the skunk can direct the spray not only over either shoulder but also to either side, in front of or behind itself, and even above itself in order to hit its target--which is its opponent's face.

Have you (or perhaps a 4-legged friend) ever met or tested the patience of the peaceful warrior?

(Come back for a visit on Saturday for our first-ever blogger scavenger hunt. See more details in the previous post.)


  1. What a great post, Pat.  Those cute little skunks are sure a lot more attractive than their human counterparts!  At least they give you fair warning what to expect. :-)

  2. The last skunk I saw was a grown-up, waddling across my parents' backyard.  Kinda startling to see them in suburbia, though in the morning I often smell that musk and know that one has been nearby in the night.

  3. it is cute.  we have one in our neighborhood.  i have not seen it but have smelled it.  Luckily it leaves my cats alone.

  4. I like skunks! We caught one digging through last year's leaves in our yards looking for something to eat. We've got a couple (at least a couple) in our neighborhood!

  5. I'm a great fan of the weasel family, even admiring badgers and wolverines. None of them seems to know any fear. Witness my little three pound domesticated ferret: played wild games with 45 pound dog, faced down 9 pound, out-for-blood Siamese huntress. Always with a happy-go-lucky swagger, and occasional bursts of joyful dancing.