A Note To Parents: We make every effort for Roxanne's blog to be a SAFE site for children. Whenever possible, activities are in pdf format or link to safe sites for children. Please feel free to use the information in these posts for homeschool studies! All rights reserved by author and nature photographer, Virginia Parker Staat.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Skunk Alley

Our neighborhood has been called skunk alley.  Years ago, before any of our houses were built, skunks lived here.  They still do!

We have seen many skunks over the years.  One year, we had a mother skunk and her five babies living under our deck.  This year we seem to have more skunks than usual.  We have seen a mother and her baby, two young skunks traveling together, and two single skunks.  We found the big guy in the photo above eating leftover bird seed in our yard last night.

Skunks are incredible creatures.  They are known for their smelly defense system.  When a skunk is afraid, he will stomp his feet and try to scare you.  If that doesn't work, he will turn around, raise his tail, and spray a foul, horrible musk at you.

I know.  When I was young, I was sprayed twice in ten days.  It was horrible!!!  I couldn't stand the smell.  I raked and raked my face in the dirt, but it didn't help.  Mom had to give me a special bath.  I learned my lesson well and have never gone near a skunk again!

Skunks are nocturnal (they like to come out at night).  They have beautiful coats of black fur with white stripes.  Mother skunks normally have four to seven kits (babies) born in the early spring.

The only problem with skunks (besides their spray... which is REALLY smelly) is that skunks can have rabies.  Rabies is a terrible disease and very contagious.  A rabid skunk is dangerous because if it bites a human or dog, we can catch rabies from them.  If you see a skunk out during the day.  If you see a skunk that looks like he is drunk.  If you see a skunk who doesn't look healthy, then the skunk may have rabies.  You should call your animal control center for help.

While many people don't like skunks, we sure do.  They dig in our yard and eat the grubs and cutworms.  They eat small rodents and snakes.  They are also very smart.  The skunks in our neighborhood know when our porch light comes on that I will come outside.  They hide under our deck until I am ready to go inside.

Why do we have so many skunks in our neighborhood?  Skunks lived in our woods long before people lived here.  Many people in our neighborhood also feed birds, outdoor cats, and other wildlife.  Of course, the skunks enjoy eating birdseed, corn, and cat food, too.  If you don't want skunks around, you must not put the kinds of foods they eat around your yard.

If you would like to learn more about skunks, just click on one of these sites:

Here is a skunk coloring page for you:

  • http://museum2.utep.edu/educate/learninglinks/stripedskunkcolor.htm

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