The Sassy, Stinky Skunk
By Melissa Wynn

Photo by Dave Herr

Even if you have never seen one close up, everyone can recognize a skunk. Skunks are mammals of the weasel family, characterized by their conspicuous black and white markings and use of a strong, highly offensive odor for defense.

The scent glands of skunks produce an oily, yellowish liquid, which the animal squirts with great force from vents under the tail; this produces a fine mist which, in addition to stinking, causes choking and tearing of the eyes. Skunks don’t usually make use of this weapon unless severely provoked and then only after raising the tail in a warning display.

Most animals quickly learn to avoid skunks, which are consequently quite fearless and move about openly.

The two common skunks of the United States, the striped skunk and the spotted skunk, are nocturnal animals but are often spotted in late evening and early morning.

The little stinkers’ diet include rodents, insects, eggs, carrion, and vegetable matter.

They live, often several individuals or families together, in dens made in abandoned burrows, buildings or in rock piles.

In northern parts of their range the sassy skunks sleep through much of the winter, but they do not truly hibernate and may emerge during warm spells to feed.

Skunks are adorable in appearance only. It is NEVER a good idea to approach any wild animal but always stay far away from the sassy, stinky skunk. In this case, the dynamite is truly in a small but cute package.

facts courtesy of