Skunks, even though a member of the weasel family, are not weasely (Yes, weasely). They aren’t sneaky or mean. They go about their business, foraging for larvae, insects, mice, and fruit. They don’t disrupt. People should be happy to have a mice-chewing skunk outside their home.
The reason people don’t like skunks is not because they are ugly. Look at these pictures. Skunks are beautiful. Even more so up close. They really have it going on. They have long black fur and white stripes. They have adorable little feet. I mean, if you can get by the initial realization that there is a skunk in front of you, take a look at their feet before it sprays you. Adorable.
Other animals have embraced the skunk. Cats have been known to accept orphaned baby skunks as their own. Cats and skunks get along. The cat on Pepe le Pew didn’t want anything to do with Pepe, but it was the 60′s and people weren’t so open to inter-racial couples back then. But, in reality, other animals hang with the skunk.
I had a skunk named Stinky (who I will talk about later) who hung out with an opposum named Poopy Butt. They foraged for food together. They were together for several years, coming nightly to eat at my kitchen nook door. I sat out cat food for our outside cat that we really didn’t have. So, now we know that cats and opposums like skunks. So, why can’t people?
No, the reason people don’t care for skunks is because of their smell. I personally like their smell. I knew someone who liked the smell of gasoline a little too much and well, let’s just say her elevator doesn’t go to the top floor if you know what I mean. So, embrace the skunky smell. It’s a fine fragrant.
Skunks only spray when they feel scared or threatened. If you slowly make friends with a skunk like I did, you will be fine. Skunks are great marksmen. They can hit a mark from a distance of 9 feet, sometimes up to 12. So, make sure you take out a measuring tape when you go outside to visit a skunk. By the way, they have enough ammunition to fire about six times in a row before needing some time to re-load. They are like a little black and white Uzi.
Skunks give warning. When they see you, they don’t immediately spray you. That would be rude. No, they tap their adorable little feet. That’s warning #1. If you are still standing too close to them and are too stupid to heed the warning, they give you another chance. Their tail goes up in the air. Sometimes they will even put their legs up in the air. Like in this video. If you are still stupid after these warnings, you deserve to be sprayed.
When I was in college I purchased a skunk from Kmart. I swear I did. They sold skunks in the Weirton WV store in the mid seventies. I bought it for $35 during the summer before I went back to school. I named him Thumper. My mom was quite happy.
“Vickie….Dear God, you are holding a skunk…….Vickie, Kmart does not sell skunks…….No, they don’t.” So, she called Kmart because she didn’t believe me. I don’t know why. “Vickie, you’re taking it back to school with you, right?……………You can’t keep it here….It will attack Cricket.” Cricket was my little white dog. While she was saying that, I had put Thumper down, and Cricket came over to smell him. Instant connection. eHarmony circa 1975.
My dad spoke up. I almost fell over. My dad never spoke back to my mom. He was Wally Cox with Ronald Reagan’s voice. “I’ll take care of the skunk while you are in school.” My mom shot him a look, like “How dare you speak.”
So, Thumper slept all day, like skunks do, and kept Cricket up all night. The dog was exhausted. Thumper went to the bathroom in the kitty litter box, but also enjoyed digging in my mom’s many potted plants she had littered around the family room. Well, that’s what vacuum cleaners are for. Cleaning. My dad LOVED Thumper. Probably because my mom hated the poor little thing so much. I would sometimes walk into the family room and Thumper would be curled up, sleeping on my dad’s lap. He would just look up and smile. When I went back to school in the fall and when my dad wasn’t looking, Mom sold Thumper. Witch. Not only did she sell Thumper, she sold him for $40 and told me she was keeping the $5 to buy more potting soil for her plants. Wicked witch.
Fast forward many years and I made friends with Stinky. We could open the kitchen door and yell his name, and he would come
running. For a peanut. We even got him to step into our kitchen. We loved Stinky. He was like part of the family. One night, during the huge March snowstorm we had in the early 90′s, Stinky showed up in the newly plowed drive-way, bloody and disoriented. Someone had hit Stinky. He was badly injured. I begged Jay to put him out of his misery. We buried Stinky out on the ridge, under the grand daddy hickory tree, next to Chuck the hamster and Sweetheart the Squirrel. I cried for days.
So, people, if you see a skunk in your yard, he may help you out by munching on mice that would otherwise try to enter your home and eat your cereal and poop in your corners. Mice don’t poop in the middle of the floor, everyone knows this. But, skunks don’t mind when you haven’t taken a shower. So, don’t get grossed out with the smell. It’s not a bad smell.
In the end, skunks have a place in our lives. I can’t wait to move to a place that is near the woods and a creek (prounounced crik in my world), so I can start feeding wildlife again.
And I hope to find something stinky in my backyard.