There is an alarming trend in pet purchasing habits this fall. People
inspired by the WWII film, "Life is Beautiful" -- the one with that
annoying Italian guy -- are buying descented skunks by the millions.
Unassuming parents are procuring the cute
and fuzzy skunk puppies for their children not realizing that they grow
up to be wild pack animals that are intelligent, blood thirsty hunters.
They are also vengeful, have a highly developed bird-call-like language,
and cannot be properly disciplined with a spray bottle.
As a public service Spock Mountain
Research Labs is posting this warning and guide to skunk behavior. It
is our hope that this article will ward off more domestic skunk disasters.
skunks are in the weanling stage, they are cute and moist, and children
cannot resist them. They do not realize that these creatures grow up to
have shark-like teeth and claws meant for separating flesh from vertebrae.
owners are often surprised to find that a skunk will pass up a perfectly
good "skunk pan," and instead eliminate on their furniture, walls, or
other surfaces. Descented skunks never forgive human beings for taking
their stink power, and will constantly urinate throughout the home. This
can lead to unsanitary living quarters for your children, and your little
ones might even get a rhinovirus.
Skunks are also very picky
eaters. When a skunk is deprived of its natural hunting pattern, it will
be most happy with raw eggs, and uncooked meats. But, like spiders, skunks
prefer to eat live prey.
In the wild, skunks work in
packs of two or more, and they generally try to hunt near rivers or creeks
where they can quickly subdue amphibians, which makes up the bulk of most
skunks' diets. In fact, a team of two skunks can rip apart as many as
10 frogs per hour when feeding.
owners are often shocked by the skunk's penchant for inviting other wild
animals into the household. Many a skunk owner has come home from work,
or doing errands, to find that a bunch of raccoons, opossums, and skunks
have raided the kitchen, and eaten all of the eggs, and other high calorie
happens, never, ever, let a skunk outside without a proper restraining
system. Skunks will sometimes pretend to be like cats, but at the first
opportunity they will make a break for wild freedom, where they will join
the other escaped skunks in the neighborhood and form gangs. And then
all hell will break loose.
a skunk has escaped, it is nearly impossible to catch it.
Skunks have a ground speed
of nearly 85 miles per hour, close to that of the cheetah. If startled,
a group of skunks can bolt from a skunk hole at breathtaking speed, and
will not be shy about defending their freedom with their teeth and claws
when challenged. This makes them extremely dangerous to have in the yard.
Even when a skunk has been
descented, it has the ability to project uric acid from its hindquarters.
If cornered a descented skunk still has powerful pumping glands, and a
pursuer may receive a brutal splash of skunk
urine is not as disgusting as skunk spray, but it can still debilitate
an adult human long enough for the skunk to make a hasty escape.
Skunks will have no compunction
about destroying your other pets and livestock. When faced with surviving
away from a source of fresh amphibians, skunks have been known to eat
cats, dogs, and even horses. There are reports that packs of skunks have
torn up entire hen houses, killing every hen, drinking all the blood and
feasting on the eggs.
only recourse a skunk owner has is to build skunk traps baited with chocolate.
Chocolate is an irresistible substance to skunks, and it is also a a deadly
poison to them. Skunk traps usually consist of a tin can with a Hershey's Chocolate
Kiss on the bottom. The can is placed in a hole in the ground, similar
in size to a gopher hole.
the skunk rushes for the chocolate, its head will become lodged permanently
inside the tin can. Slowly, blindly the skunk wanders around as the chocolate
takes its toll. The skunk will cry out in its skunk "macaaw" as it stumbles.
If it can be located in time, it can be destroyed with a shovel
or a blunt instrument. This is the preferable way for a wild skunk to die.
may seem cruel, but unless the skunk is bludgeoned it will walk endlessly
as its digestive track
freezes up and its blood hardens. And it may wander into town where adolescent
boys may find it and slowly torture it by playing kick the can, or another
the best way to defend one's property from escaped pet skunks is to get
a Costa Rican spider monkey, the natural enemy of skunks. As the mongoose
is able to to kill the deadly cobra, a spider monkey is slightly faster
than the wily skunk, and able to avoid its sprays and