Thursday, March 13, 2008

Skunk Chase '08

During this morning's last trimphant lap at the golf course, still in the pre-dawn hours, I found myself chasing a skunk. The highlights:

  • They can get a little bigger than I thought. The skunk I encountered was bulkier than my cat, probably somewhere near 20lbs. The wikipedia article says they top out at 18lbs, so OK, fine, maybe it wasn't quite 20lbs. This one must have been close to the skunk size limit.

  • Skunks aren't very sharp, which probably explains why most skunks I've seen have been roadkill. This skunk seemed alarmed that I was running toward it, but it didn't hide itself in any of the shrubs or bushes along the way, but just kept ambling forward looking slightly panicked. In a similar situation, a wild rabbit, mouse, rat, deer, or squirrel would have darted into cover, probably well before I saw it.

  • Skunks, even frightened ones, aren't very fast, nor do they have a very graceful running motion. I could have caught this skunk easily, and the harder it ran, the more it seemed it would topple over.

  • As the Mythbusters found in episode 022, and as wikipedia reports, "skunks are reluctant to use their smelly weapon": it did not spray me although I did come within the listed 5 meter range of its stink weapon. Torn between the desire not to smell like a skunk and the desire to blog about having been sprayed by a skunk, I opted for the former and gave the skunk a wide berth.

  • I probably should have gone ahead and given the skunk a kick, after which I could have live-blogged the de-skunking. I doubt anyone has ever live-blogged a de-skunking.


mikesdak said...

My understanding (mostly from other's experience,happily) is that a skunk's biggest defense is the deterrent effect of the spray. They know most animals won't mess with them. They are related to the badger,however, and do have badger-like claws.
A friend of mine was walking his small dog one night when they surprised a skunk, which sprayed the dog quite thoroughly. The dog
then jumped into my friend's arms, triggering a merry vomit-fest. As I recall, tomato juice baths were required to clear things up.

Dale said...