What comes here? A writhing ball of hair on twenty feet. (With apologies for the window-blurred photos.)
A mother striped skunk with her brood. The youngsters huddled around her, keeping their flanks pressed to one another. The whole mass trundled as one. When mother stopped to nose-poke the ground, the whole crew flowed forward to see what she’d found. Then, onward.
One of the four youngsters has a black tail. The others are white-striped on tail and face, like their mom.
And off they go, tails aloft. The young stay with their mother for two or three months, so these ones I guesstimate at 6-8 weeks. For a species whose adulthood is mostly solitary (the breeding season is a squall of screams and sprays, so little do they enjoy company), skunks start their lives with an intense cuddling-huddle-bustle bond with their families. Then hormones kick in, I suppose, with a burgeoning taste for perfume.
Collective noun: A charm of skunks.
My aunt had a de-scented pet skunk when I was a child. It was such a beautiful, sweet animal. Honestly, these are dadgum cute (from a distance and through a window).
Mustelids are smart and affectionate, in my limited experience with ferrets and from watching skunks. I’ve heard some interesting stories of de-scenting operations in the old Sewanee hospital…
I smiled remembering my aunt’s
Story of as a child asking her dad to save a black
And white kitty which was caught in a drainage pipe. She wanted take it home. Her dad’s reply:
Not this one !!! We can’t take this one home!!!
Not a good kitty to reach out for!
https://www.facebook.com/brad.sowder/videos/1651188078444029/ I hope this link works so you can see the skunk floating down the river on a hay bale after our recent flooding here in Oklahoma, I hope the skunk made it to dry land!
Wow. A Huck Finn of skunks. I hope she/he was OK. Apparently they are good, but reluctant, swimmers.
You just solved a puzzle in our Cambridge yard. Our housecats alerted me to a presence in our yard; usually I hunch behind them & squint with no success. But that evening there appeared to be a surprisingly large skunk with incredibly luxuriant fur. Looking at your wonderful pictures, I think I must have been seeing the twilight aura of a skunk family. Thanks!
Years ago, I had a sinuous creature approaching the vegetable garden around dusk. When it got closer, I realized that it was a mother skunk followed by 2 or 3 babies, nose to tail. I made sure to get out of the garden before dusk the rest of the summer.
A file of skunks…?
I beat a hasty, but quiet retreat, so they did not defile the garden. :0)
In Australia we do have the magical kangaroo, plus koalas, quolls, blue-tongue lizards and Tassie Devils but not the to-us-near-mythological skunk. Which clearly in reality is as wonderful as in cartoons and comics
As a wildlife rehabber & vet tech, I had the great joy & pleasure of caring for many little skunks ( & other wild babies & adults). Skunks are these little furry triangular creatures, wonderful & funny. They play & act very like kittens & are very sweet. Their eyesight is poor so they are easily startled – which is when the trouble usually begins. However, that is the defense they were given & we all deserve some way to try to protect ourselves & our little ones. De-scentin goes on at fur farms, where some are sent to petshops & buyers in late spring. Their other option is – yes – to be a coat. Several of these sweeties wound up in my care when they were no longer wanted. They stayed with me for the remainder of their lives & I was the richer for having had their company.
When you are lucky enough to see one outdoors, free – give them a wide berth but enjoy!
Thank you … wonderful creatures, as are all mustelids, when you get to know them.