Tuesday, December 22, 2009
This creature needs no introduction, who among us can look at those tell-tale stripes and black and white coloring and not know this is the Striped Skunk? I've long been an advocate for the animals nobody seems to love, this includes our lovely little skunk here as well as many other creatures like Armadillos, Bats and Bugs.
The skunk pictured here was photographed a couple of summers ago on our farm in Fillmore, Missouri. My husband and I had made a trip up there to look at the crops and take a drive in the country. It was a beautiful late spring day in May. We drove across the pond dam and off to one side I spotted something black and white in the corn field. I told my husband to "STOP!" I jumped out of the truck and ran down the hillside. I was so excited at being this close to one of my favorite animals. Lucky for me I had my camera with me. I inched closer and closer, being very careful to not spook this little darling. For quite some time she seemed to not notice me (which I know was impossible). When I was within about 20 feet of her she became nervous and looked at me. For one long minute in time I was looking into the eyes of this sweet little creature. She cocked her head at me and decided I was close enough. She reared up on her back legs and stomped her front legs at me. What did I do... you may ask? I laughed of course, how absolutely adorable was that! I inched closer. Oh yes. Once more she stomped at me. This was simply too much, and I fell irrevocably in love with this creature. Suddenly I hear from the top of the pond dam...."If you get sprayed you are walking home!" Drat! I had completely forgotten my dear husband. I just smiled, I was very confident this skunk loved me as much as I loved her. I inched closer. This time she entertained me by changing her repertoire from foot stomps to dance moves. She literally did a head-stand and tapped out some fancy footwork on her front legs. I nearly cried at how cute this was. Now keep in mind this whole time I've been inching ever closer to this little stink bomb on legs, and was now well within firing distance. This whole time my husband is shouting from the pond dam to get back to the truck before I get sprayed. While I was taking time to assure him everything would be okay, this lovely creature picked that precise moment to turn the tables on me. She charged me! She came at me at full speed....let me tell you what....having a skunk, no matter how adorable, chasing you, will make you move...FAST! I turned tail and ran as if my life depended on it. She chased me all the way up that pond dam. I was laughing so hard I could barely run. My husband dove into the truck ( the brave man he is). When I reached the truck the skunk stopped and turned to run across the pond dam. She stopped and looked around, making sure it was safe and she began digging in some dry grasses (pictured). In short ordered she disappeared under ground. It was at this point I figured out she was a momma with babies. Skunks have long had a nasty reputation for being a quick draw with the "Stink cannon". I found this little female to be very patient with a meddlesome human (namely me). There were many opportunities for her to spray me, and she chose not to. Perhaps she knew I was not a serious threat, that I was merely a goofy human with not much sense. I will forever remember my first close-up encounter with this lovely creature.... How sweet it was to be able to ride home in the "front" of the pickup!