Today at Light Future Art, we’re going to share some fun facts about an infamous little animal that has a lot more going for them than just their smell: the skunk!
1. There are 10 species of skunks distributed throughout North America and Polynesia. Some of these skunks are crepuscular (most active at dawn and dusk) but the majority of skunk species are nocturnal.
2. For a long time, it was believed that skunks were related to weasels and badgers, part of the Mustelid family. Now scientists have discovered that they actually belong in their own family, Mephitidae.
3. While the defensive spray which skunks release onto attackers isn’t harmful, it’s usually enough to keep the skunk unbothered. The spotted skunk actually does a handstand while spraying in order to keep an eye on the threat at all times.
4. Skunks are extremely adaptable to a variety of different climates. They can be found throughout Northern Mexico, most of the continental United States, and Southern Canada. They make their homes in burrows, which can be created in hollow tree trunks, in old and disused burrows of other animals, under porches or decks, or even underground.
5. Skunks find their food through scent, aided by their excellent sense of smell. Their eyesight, however, is quite weak. Skunks are only able to see about 10 feet in front of themselves.
6. Rarely traveling more than two miles from their homes, skunks ensure that they always make their burrows near a water source. In a day, skunks typically only forage about a mile away from their burrows looking for fruits, insects, eggs, and grasses. Males generally travel further from their homes than females.
7. Skunks live alone for most of the year, but they gather in communal burrows for warmth during winter, when they are the least active.
8. Baby skunks, or kits, are blind for the first two weeks of life. They generally stay with their mothers for 10 months to a year, at which time they are capable of living on their own.
9. Skunks are actually immune to the venom of venomous snakes and occasionally attack and eat such snakes, though they aren’t part of the usual diet of a skunk.
10. The skunk was first described in Europe is 1634. The description provided compared the skunk’s tail to that of a fox and squirrel, praised the beauty of their striped backs, and suggested that they might be dogs. However, the writer of the report was so disturbed they their smell that he wrote that his heart nearly gave out upon smelling them.
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