Facts About Skunks

Skunks are best known for the stinky smell they give off when feeling threatened or scared, but there are lots of other neat and interesting facts about skunks that you may not know about. For instance, did you know that skunks belong to a family of omnivores and mammals that also includes ferrets and weasels? Skunks also have a distinct look to them, which only serves to help humans and other animals identify and stay away from them and their bad smell.

Really bad smell

Humboldt’s Hog-nosed skunk
Humboldt’s Hog-nosed skunk

Skunks give off an extremely strong and bad odor. The gas that comes out of the skunk comes from two glands that are located near the rear of the skunk. There is time to get away from an about to spray skunk; if you see the skunk raise its tail, stamp its feet, and hiss, then you can be pretty sure that the skunk is about to spray. If you don’t get away in time, you should be prepared to get hit from even more than ten feet away, and be sprayed multiple times. A skunk is able to spray at this great distance, and their aim isn’t bad either. They will hit their mark more often than miss it.

To eat and be eaten

Skunks feed mostly on insects and the eggs of birds. They will also eat fruit if other food options are limited or scarce. Skunks provide other animals with food. An unsuspecting skunk can sometimes be picked up by large owls, or even be eaten by larger animals, depending on their location.

Other interesting facts

Striped skunk range
Striped skunk range

Skunks have an ability that almost no other creature has. Skunks can survive snakebite, and can withstand more venom than most other creatures its size. Skunks can be credited with good hearing and smelling, but when it comes to eyesight, skunks have a poor ability to see very far ahead, which makes them easier targets for predators. Skunks can be found almost anywhere, but their anatomy does not make them great survivors of desert regions so you will typically find them in cooler regions where forests and trees exist.

More on skunks: What do skunks eat?

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