Skunks are, of course, pretty infamous. The most famous thing people know about these critters is the fact that they give off a horrendous smell! However, this has become something of a defining trait for the mammal, and we think that’s pretty unfair! That’s why we’ve put together this fact file – to try and separate Pepe Le Pew from this truly fascinating beast. Of course, we’re going to cover the smell factor – but there’s more than just a pungent odour that’s fascinating about the average skunk!
Skunks are relatively tiny! They will only ever weigh up to around 14lbs on average and can be as small as eight inches long. Be careful where you tread!
Skunks, as you can imagine, have fantastic senses of smell. They’re surprisingly good at hearing things, too – but they have pretty poor eyesight.
Their top speed is around 10 miles per hour, which doesn’t make them particularly nippy when it comes to outpacing predators such as coyotes and owls. However, that’s where their incredible foul-smelling glands come in handy!
Take a deep breath – skunks will release pungent sprays from their behinds directly at potential predators. You’ll have time to escape this, as they give you a bit of a warning by stamping around and turning tail.
In fact, skunks are pretty gutsy. They will often try to take on an attacker first if they can, though due to their small size, they will often need to rely on their sprays to make a clean break for it.
A skunk will only live for up to four years in the wild on average.
The skunk is native to North America, with at least four different species in the wild spanning Canada all the way down to Mexico.
Skunks love to eat beetles, grubs and even birds’ eggs. However, they have even been known to attack beehives and nests – as they find honeybees particularly tasty.
However, the skunk is surprisingly hardy. If you think they’d be bothered about bee stings, think again. What’s more, research shows that they can bounce back easily from snake bites!
In fact, this general immunity against snake poison and venom means that they are common predators for all kinds of slimy slitherers. That, believe it or not, includes rattlesnakes. Got a rattler problem? Send out a skunk!
Skunks tend to be fairly solitary. However, as you can imagine, they tend to group together when it comes to mating seasons. The average skunk litter could bear up to seven young at a time. However, it’s not unheard of for there to only be one skunk born at a time.
Skunk odours aren’t harmful, though they can spread a variety of diseases to humans and other animals. Therefore, if you are concerned that you have a skunk bite, make sure to speak to a medical professional as soon as possible.
Skunk odours, while non-fatal, will linger for days. And no, it’s not a misnomer or myth that they stink – they really, really smell very foul indeed.
Do you have any interesting facts about skunks you’d like to share? Add them here by writing in the comments section below!