Monday, September 14, 2009

Aw, Skunks!

Last night I was driving through Vermont, on my way to the Grand Isle Ferry. It was about 11pm when a skunk scurried across the road in front of my car. Obviously I am familiar with what a skunk is, and I recognized it right away; however, I have chosen to write about it because this was the first time I had ever actually seen a live skunk in the wild (although I have certainly smelt them before).

I caught quite a good glimpse of it as it passed in front of my vehicle, before disappearing into the darkness. It was a cute little black and white creature with a big bushy tail, and it reminded me a bit of a stuffed animal that had come to life.

The striped skunk, whose scientific name is, Mephitis mephitis, is a member of the weasel family and is a nocturnal animal who prefers to reside in brushy or wooded areas or in underground burrows, according to this informative website. This site also explains that female skunks have an average litter size of 4 to 7 young, which are born blind and with little hair. Their average lifespan is about six years.

Of course, the skunk is infamous for the horrid smell it sprays as a defense mechanism. The Wildlife Orphanage explains that skunks spray when they feel frightened and that they can spray their obnoxious, lingering scent up to ten feet.

The Striped Skunk Natural History Notebook explains that, “Skunks have few natural enemies; the Great Horned Owl is the main one. Other carnivores tend to avoid them unless they are desperate for food.” Perhaps the potential odor of the skunk kills the appetites of most other animals…

Aside from their smell, They are actually very cute! Click here to view photos...

1 comment:

  1. Ashleigh, I can't believe you never saw a skunk before! Well, there is a first time for everything. Nice writeup and good links. There seemed to be a coding problem when I was viewing the blog.