It’s really an amazing adaptation, to have an anal sac that you can express at someone when they get annoying. Think what human civilization would be like if we had that ability.
Being a politician would be less rosy than it is, now.
This guy’s just a baby. He was grubbing (literally) around in the field when I saw him and wandered over. They have pretty bad vision, I think, or he was just not worried about humans, yet.
skunks scare me, more than bears.
I think one of the most terrifying moments of my existence was when I was on a geology field trip, and for some reason some of other students were having some issues, so I just offered up my tent, and just slept by the campfire in my sleeping bag. At some point in the night, I woke up, and saw a skunk poking around a few feet from me. I immediately froze, and I don’t think I even breathed for about three minutes or however long it took to wander off.
I put all the remaining wood on the fire, hid in my bag, and tried to pretend I didn’t exist…
they are amusing critters, but I’d much rather them be amusing way the hell away from me…
PZ Myers says
On a walk with my cousins as a teen, we surprised a skunk and it sprayed us. What impressed me was its excellent aim — it went for the eyes. One cousin was blinded, another got it in one eye, I had it spattered across my forehead. There was a good half hour of pain and stink, so bad that we jumped into a filthy cow pond to try and reduce the unpleasantness.
Pretty good for a rear gunner who had to look backwards over its shoulder to see what it was shooting at.
TGAP Dad says
Once upon a time, our family had a (descented) pet skunk. They are actually quite near-sighted, which may explain why their threat radius is only about 10 feet. Which may explain why they’re so accurate within that radius. Our dogs have been hit three times in the last two years. And lucky me, I get to be the one to wash them off, since I can’t smell skunk. Bit of a double-edged sword, that.
I’m absolutely not an expert, but all the things I’ve read about skunks (examples here and here) say they’re only dangerous if they have rabies or you scare them. Keep your distance and it’s likely nothing will happen.
And they can be gosh darned cute, too.
WMDKitty -- Survivor says
They are adorable little stinkers!
Youre okay until they start thumping their front paws on the ground. That is skunkese for Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Danger! You are about ten seconds from smelling the most godawful smell, but you can still turn around.
Luckily our dogs learned to leave the skunks alone after one incident that required multiple baths in various products to get the stench out.
I’ve been stomped at in the dark, but managed to avoid being sprayed by walking backwards where I had come from as quickly as possible.
Like many creatures, the babies are particularly adorable. They have a surprising range of squeaks and vocalizations besides the warning stomp.
About a year ago I was out walking with my dog (off-leash). She was about 100 feet away when I noticed that she was chasing a skunk. As a result of that, I learned two things: 1) I had better voice control over my dog than I thought–when I told her to come she immediately broke off contact and came to me; and 2) skunks don’t always let loose. My guess is that it was so surprised that it went into flight mode and never had time to stand its ground and turn around.
On a separate situation, with a different dog (owned by my parents-in-law), at a cabin in Wisconsin, we knew a skunk was around. Then we heard my wife’s brother yelling: “Nellie, no!. Nellie, come here! Nellie . . . Oh, NO!!!!” We got there to see Nellie foaming at the mouth and trying to wash her mouth out with dirt. And roadside dead skunk is NOTHING like fresh skunk. When my wife went to the nearby store to get tomato juice, the proprietor, just as she walked in the door and before she said anything, said, “It’s over there.” And then I, along with my sister-in-law (in other words, the two in-laws), got to try to bathe the dog in the lake at 8:00 in the evening.
I was camping in the Davis mountains with Scouts as a kid, sleeping in those canvas tents. I woke up one night with something sitting on my chest. Half asleep, I reached up and pet it like I would my cat at home. It snuffled and wandered off. Only as I was leaving did I catch a sight of the stripes. If I had been fully awake, I’d have probably panicked and gotten sprayed. But as it was, cute little bugger.