Buckley gets skunked!

If you’ve never experienced a skunk-spray-assault up close and personal, here’s how it goes… Last week our brave little guardian and protector Buckley embarked on a valiant effort to keep us safe from our neighborhood skunk.  Fast forward a week and, after several tomato baths, a few vinegar baths, etc…our house and our dog STILL reek of skunky-chemical-hell-odor and it’s unlikely Buckley will ever approach a skunk again.  To anyone who’s smelled a skunk that might have been hit by a car and thinks that the cute, stinky odor you smell as you go “pee-eeew” is as bad as it gets – you’re wrong!  If you happen to be unlucky enough to have a skunk spray within 15 feet of your house, the odor is nearly unbearable and takes on an intense chemical smell that burns your eyes and makes you feel sick.  Yes, it’s that bad.  In defense of skunks who, to be fair are only trying to save their lives, I’ve attached 25 interesting facts below about skunks that I found in my searching of how to rid ourselves of this awful smell.  Enjoy! 1. Skunks are omnivores. 2. Skunks generally forage at night and eat plants, insects, worms, eggs, reptiles and rodents. 3. Skunks are a predator of honeybees and will attack a beehive. 4. The life span of a wild skunk is about three years while domesticated skunks can live up to 10 years. 5. Skunks have short legs and well developed claws that are used for digging. 6. Skunks range in length from 8-19 inches (head and body). Adult skunks can weigh up to approximately 14 pounds. 7. Skunks are relatively slow moving animals and can run up to 10 miles an hour. 8. Skunks have excellent hearing and an excellent sense of smell; however, they have poor vision. 9. Males usually mate with multiple females. 10. Skunks mate in February. 11. The gestation period is 7-10 weeks and the young are born in May. The gestation period for yearlings (first time mothers) is a bit longer. 12. A litter of skunks can range between 2 and 10 off spring. 13. New born skunks stay with their mother until the fall. 14. Skunks do not hibernate but are dormant for about a month during the coldest part of the winter. 15. The oily musk that skunks can secrete is produced in anal glands under their tail. 16. Skunks can accurately spray the foul smelling fluid up to ten feet. 17. Skunks can discharge the smelly defensive musk several times. 18. The musk sprayed by a skunk is relatively harmless although it is very difficult to get rid of. 19. Skunks do carry rabies; the Center for Disease (CDC) recorded over 1400 cases of rabid skunks in the United States during 2006. 20. Most predators such as wolves and foxes seem to be aware of the defensive spray of skunks and shy away from them in search of easier prey. 21. Green horned owls are the main predators of skunks. Owls like most birds have a poor sense of smell. 22. Skunks are generally mild tempered animals and will only discharge the musk from their anal glands when they are threatened. 23. Skunks will stamp their feet, raise their tails and lurch their backs when the feel threatened. If you are faced with this situation it is wise to quietly retreat. 24. Skunks are usually solitary creatures when they are not mating but may den together in the cold months. 25. Skunks can be pests: given the opportunity they will prey on poultry and rummage through garbage. Skunks will also dig and den under buildings and structures. Skunks are beautiful animals and in my lifetime I have had several unexpected encounters with these wonderful creatures. I was able to admire their beauty and luckily for me I was able to retreat quietly. Sources: http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/skunk.html http://icwdm.org/handbook/carnivor/skunks.asp http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunk http://www.skunkhaven.net/

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