Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When Wildlife Cuts the Cheese


If you don’t like the way skunks smell, you’re not alone. Skunks don't like the way skunks smell, either. And this is fortunate, because it means they don’t spray on a random, recreational basis, but only when danger lurks and it's absolutely necessary.

Still, and not to be indelicate, skunks suffer from a certain amount of leakage. Their scent glands secrete some odor constantly, and most particularly during the mating season. Which explains why, when it comes to sex and the single skunk, coupling is a strictly utilitarian affair and speed is of the essence.

Unlike crows, wolves, and even the occasional humans, there’s no romance, after-glow, or lifetime commitment in the skunky mating ritual.

After a quick consummation, the boy skunk and girl skunk slink away as quickly as possible, in opposite directions. Last one out is a rotten egg, or at least smells like one. And they make no promise to meet or see each other ever again.

It should come as no surprise that skunks live a life of quiet and odoriferous solitude.

But a word here, in defense of skunks. They're not fighters – they do not attack their own kind, or any other kind, with tooth or nail or knife or gun. Their best defense is an olfactory offense. They turn the other cheek, as it were. You’ve got to respect an animal that doesn't want to inflict mortal wounds, just some temporary pain in the aesthetics. (More on Patch)

37 comments:

  1. I don't like the smell of this story. Sorry.

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  2. I've been that route before with our German Shephard (RIP) in RI. Wish I had your recipe then. Funny thing here in Northwest Florida. I haven't seen or smelled a skunk since we moved here. ????

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  3. My friend in Monrovia was given this recipe by her vet. Unfortunately, her two dogs rolled on the couches, beds, carpets, laundry immediately after being sprayed and she had to get rid of it all.

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  4. When I was a kid our collie, King, got sprayed by a skunk. My mom took him to the vet to be de-skunked. The vet told her that one way to measure a dog's intellect was how many times a dog would get sprayed by a skunk. He said most dogs learned after one encounter. Dumb ones took two. The vet said the dumbest dog he ever met got sprayed by a skunk three days in a row.

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  5. CP, he who smelt it/dealt it.

    Bayside, skunks are very particular about climate. When my cousin visited and he smelled his first-ever emission, he thought we had a gas leak. Which, I guess, we had.

    Bec, oooooooh no. I read about people shampooing their dog in the tub. Are they kidding? Mine gets the garden hose, and I don't care how cold it is outside.

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  6. Db, that's got Albert's name written all over it. My boxer, on the other hand, took one spray and ever after gave skunks the right of way.

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  7. When I was a teenager, I babysat for a family with a basement family room half out of the ground, and a sliding glass door in it. They had a skunk who came to the door every night for a peanut butter sandwich. They called it Lucy. I never smelled skunk at their house. Maybe Lucy scared the others away so he/she wouldn't have competition for the peanut butter sandwich.

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  8. "Unlike crows, wolves, and even the occasional humans, there’s no romance..."

    I should have seen this coming but I didn't until I was already laughing.

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  9. I've heard a lot of stories about skunk remedies, including burying your pupster and letting the earth reclaim all the oderiferous goodness but I have to say that if ever given the opportunity I'm going with the peroxide formula. And Bayside, we have them, I don't know how you've managed to avoid them for so long. I smelled them in our neighborhood not too long ago!

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  10. I hope I never need that recipe. But it is good to know it's there.

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  11. So does that mean my skunk remedy + toaster = A dedicated post on Margaret Finnegan?

    Marjie, that is the most amazing story. I might leave peanut butter sandwiches on the perimeter of my property.

    Paula, you can email me if you ever need it.

    K, thanks.

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  12. Funny funny funny. Yes the line K picked up on was the killer.

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  13. Great article -- and interesting comments, too!

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  14. tomato juice works. more than just an old wives tale.

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  15. Hmm...as I get older, I discover we all have a little leakage at one time or another. I guess skunks shouldn't be excluded.

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  16. A skunk sat on a stump
    The skunk thunk the stump stunk
    but the stump thunk the skunk stunk

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  17. Nancy in PasadenaApril 4, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    My internet research also revealed that there are two kinds of dogs: the ones who learn about skunks after the first time and the ones who never learn. My cat is the second kind of dog. I buy my hydrogen peroxide and baking soda and the 99-cent store.

    Karin, I found your blog two months ago and get a really big kick out of your writing. Thanks.

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  18. After growing up smitten with Pepe le Pew, I could forgive skunks for their odiferous transgressions. It probably helps that we don't have them here... I can admire them from afar.

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  19. Tomato juice with vodka works even better. (Don't put it on your dog.)

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  20. One recent morning I woke to the thick smell of skunk in the house. I got a whiff of it on my clothes later at work, like I was wearing a new scent. I guess my coworkers were too polite to say anything.

    I shouldn't tempt fate, but I've never had to deal with my dogs getting sprayed, despite many encounters out walking.

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  21. @Paula: Nope, no skunks and, are you ready, only one squirrel. Weird isn't it.

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  22. I recall our PIO wrote about a skunk problem she had her house recently. Well, actually under her house.

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  23. Ok Nancy, I'm just going to sit back and imagine what kind of fortitude it takes to wash a skunk-sprayed cat.

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  24. You can make even skunks smell sweet.

    I think I'd rather my dog had a run in with a skunk than a raccoon - but don't tell her I said that!

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  25. I guess you adore the smell.

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  26. This was stand up solid. I have to read this again after I stop laughing so hard.

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  27. This was stand up solid. I have to read this again after I stop laughing so hard.

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  28. Well done! But you've made me feel sorry for skunks. Talk about lives of quiet desperation . . . Or is it a Zen peace with no worries about the opposite sex?

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  29. I had times ago in the roof of my house a skunk (gambá in Portuguese) and one day I feel this "olfactory offense". It's really a bad smell.
    I am glad to know that they're not fighters and their defense is olfactory offense.

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  30. Carolynn, I think you better lay in some supplies for curious little Willow.

    Thanks Roberta and Banjo. I know, I tried to work "quiet desperation" in there, but couldn't.

    Sonia, gambá is a much prettier word than "skunk."

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  31. Great laughs, great de-skunking tips.
    Years ago, we had a skunk trot down the path by our front door -- in pursuit, we think of Domino, Pete's B&W cat. Our front door was open and we were on the tennis court...dropped everything and ran to close the door (a bit stupidly cuz that was running AFTER the skunk). Luckly, he or she just pressed on it's merry way.

    PS -- for Tash in Altadena tour...see http://mostlylacounty.blogspot.com/2012/04/storefronts-in-altadena-ca.html

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  32. B.O. I don't think I've heard that for 20 years. For some reason I want to thank you for the reminder.

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  33. Oh yeah! that stinks.
    So lets see...
    There are dumb dogs
    There are good smelling dogs
    There are no dumb, good smelling dogs

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  34. I think that the skunks from the United States are more beautiful than the ones from the South America. Here in Brazil I saw only this one, species
    Didelphis marsupialis
    .

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  35. Last summer I spent an entire evening in the bathroom at a cocktail party on Plum Island, Mass. The dog had been sprayed outside and ran passed me to chase the skunk and like an idiot I snatched up the dog to stop her. We were both in stink purgatory while the hostess ran around her house in fits of recipe ideas.

    "Will Clamato work?" I heard her yelling out there. "I have at least 15 gallons of that!"

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  36. It's a word I've abused. http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/passed.html

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