Friday, March 2, 2012

Striped skunk sprint

At the encouragement of a friend of mine I am retelling the story of the little skunk pictured here. A few years ago I was visiting a farm with my husband that his parents own. We were driving across the pond dam when I noticed a skunk in the field. I hurriedly told my husband, Joey, to stop the truck so I could run down into the field and take a picture. I made it into the field and the skunk did not see me. I figured this situation was off to a good start. I crept closer and kept snapping pictures. Again the skunk paid no attention to me. So I took this as a good sign and tip-toed closer. I knew I was skating on thin ice (figuratively speaking) and that this situation could get ugly, or at the very least stinky any second. By now I was about 20 feet away, and this apparently was a tad bit beyond the skunks comfort zone. She lunged forward onto her front feet and began dancing and stomping. I thought that was the cutest thing I'd ever seen, so naturally I had to get closer. Then I hear the voice of reason coming from the top of the pond dam...."If you get sprayed you are walking home!"

I persisted and went a little closer to the skunk, this was probably not the smartest thing I could have done....okay...it was DEFINITELY not the smartest thing I could have done. It reared back on its hind legs and stomped onto its front legs...not once.....but twice. I was clearly being warned. Did I listen? Nope. I walked a bit closer, and by now I was about 15 feet away and well within the distance needed to get sprayed. It was at this point that this skunk did something unimaginable......it ran at me! It startled me so much I turned tail and ran looking over my shoulder the entire time. This skunk was hot on my tail and was literally chasing me back where I came from....all the way to the pickup.  I once again hear the voice of reason at the top of the pond dam......"RUN...faster...RUN!" As if he needed to tell me that!!!! You NEVER saw an old woman run so fast!

I made it to the truck unscathed and not wearing Ode' to Skunk. I jumped in the truck and looked out the window. I saw the skunk walk along the pond dam. I was curious once again and I got out of the truck and followed her, this time from a safe distance that did not invade her space. She began digging in earnest and disappeared underground. We came to the conclusion she had babies and this was her den. All the fancy foot work and the sprint race up the hill was all in an effort to keep her babies safe and to warn me away.

She had ample opportunity to spray me, and chose not to. If you are ever outside and come across a skunk, if they start dancing around, you better start running in the other direction. You are either about to be sprayed or chased, and trust me you WILL run with one of these little stink bombs coming after you.

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