What's black and white and cute all over?
October 5, 2010 7:33 AM   Subscribe

For most people, skunks just stink. But they also cuddle, wiggle, wrestle, stomp, pout, swim, and play. [Caution; may contain some absurd cuteness]
posted by quin (72 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
My nose is weird or something, because skunks don't stink to me. They smell a little like chocolate. The flip side is that orchids and lilies smell like electrical fires and burning.
posted by FunkyHelix at 7:37 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by grobstein at 7:44 AM on October 5, 2010

My dad has always claimed that he had a pet skunk (with the stink-making organ removed) as a child. Is this even possible? I don't really know, but it's always made me a little obsessed with wanting one myself. They're the cutest.
posted by something something at 7:49 AM on October 5, 2010

I'm with FunkyHelix - the smell doesn't really bother me. When everyone else in the car is all like GAG YAFF AWLLLLPPTTTT, it registers as "well, I'd rather smell perfume, but whatever."

Of course, I sometimes, without the assistance of garlic, onions, or beans, make farts that will make your eyes water. Skunk is downright pleasant by comparison.

I see skunk on the road, and where most people will start holding their nose or change the car's HVAC system according to their current wives' tale ("put it on recirculate!" "Take it off recirculate!" "turn on the a/c!"), I just feel sorry for the blind little fuckers.

THat said, man, there was a shit-ton (see what I did there?) of cuteness in this FPP. THanks!
posted by notsnot at 7:50 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'm another one on the "doesn't smell that bad" team. I grew up in an area where there were a lot of skunks, so the smell's pretty nostalgic for me.

I could probably watch that "stomp" video all day.
posted by specialagentwebb at 7:53 AM on October 5, 2010

I need attention! I need attention! I need attention! I need att... er, hang on, my ear itches. Where was I? Right. I need attention!
posted by Wolfdog at 7:54 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

My dad has always claimed that he had a pet skunk (with the stink-making organ removed) as a child. Is this even possible? I don't really know, but it's always made me a little obsessed with wanting one myself. They're the cutest.

Skunks, having like no real predators, are fairly curious and playful little beasts. Destinked and hand-raised, they're kind of kittenish.
posted by The Whelk at 7:55 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Skunk smell from a distance isn't too bad, but I bet it's universally pretty awful in close quarters.
posted by something something at 7:55 AM on October 5, 2010

I would bet that people who think the smell isn't that bad haven't actually been blasted by one. There's a difference between smelling roadkill skunk from 300 yards away and getting a shot in the face and clothes (not that I've had the pleasure).
posted by Burhanistan at 7:56 AM on October 5, 2010

My dad has always claimed that he had a pet skunk (with the stink-making organ removed) as a child. Is this even possible? I don't really know, but it's always made me a little obsessed with wanting one myself. They're the cutest.

Skunks make for good pets, but you have to baby them for the first year of their lives. You have to de-scent them at the vet. Also, they don't litter-train, they corner-train - they pick a corner and that's where they're going to do their business. Most seriously, there aren't any rabies shots for skunks.

On the other hand, they're adorable.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:58 AM on October 5, 2010

I came very close to buying a (descented) skunk from a pet store in Georgia several years ago. The store manager convinced me it was worth the trip to North Carolina to buy a ferret (which were illegal in GA at the time). So, yeah, they make good pets, but other pets may be better.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:01 AM on October 5, 2010

You know, when I saw one of those guys while biking to work this summer I didn't get nearly that close. I let it go about its business on the road until it decided to move back into the bush. I don't think I gave it quite as much room as my friend who saw a bear on the same road, but I sure didn't crowd it once I figured out what it was.
posted by Canageek at 8:03 AM on October 5, 2010

I'll agree with Burhanistan. In the car, it's not terrible. When my dog found one in the early morning, he lived outside for most of 3 days. And we could still smell it when he got wet for the next two months. It was horrible.
posted by jermsplan at 8:03 AM on October 5, 2010

Aw, so cute. I actually like skunk smell -- the same way I like the smell of gasoline -- but I've never had it on me. Around here, you can tell when the area skunks have been passing through at night because their scent wafts through the morning mist, and then the dogs have to put up with my horrible Pepe Le Pew impression out in the yard.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:05 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Up close doesn't smell baf either. My husband was sprayed putting out the garbage, and while everyone hid out gagging when he came in vomiting on himself, I was able to move about just fine opening cans and filling the tub. Up close doesn't smell like chocolate, though. It doean't smell bad, simply interesting.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:07 AM on October 5, 2010

Bad, not baf.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:09 AM on October 5, 2010

My mom once found an orphaned baby skunk. She kept it in a cage and fed it stinky, stinky cat food until it was old enough to be out on its own. It never went far--whenever my mom went fishing off of our dock, the skunk would be there, waiting for fish.

My sister was followed home from school by a different skunk. It was romping around her--it wanted to play.

On a less adorable note:
A boy who'd killed a skunk while hunting cut out the scent sack and brought it to my sister's school, and popped it in the commons area in the center of the school. The school had that seventies-style open floor plan with few doors, so that was an interesting school day.
posted by LynstHolin at 8:11 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

the same way I like the smell of gasoline
Poor some gas on yourself and then light it on fire. That's the difference between the smell and actually getting sprayed. it's a million times worse.
posted by Blake at 8:17 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the distant smell is categorically different from the immediate smell of skunks.

Right after I got divorced last summer, I was foolish enough to stay in the house we'd lived in when we were married. It was a great deal, I had a lot of space, blah blah blah. Suffice it to say that I wasn't exactly doing the routine maintenance, even after I lost my job and started spending most days just drinking and playing the piano.

Anyhow, one of the things that slipped through the cracks (literally, as it turned out) was securing the exterior of the house for the coming winter, something I probably would've done most years but I certainly didn't last year. Edgewater, where I lived, is sort of a semirural neighborhood in Denver; I get all kinds of creatures all the time. One time I was sitting in my living room when a squirrel wandered in, and I had to open the doors to let him scurry out.

Anyway, now and then I smelled skunk during the winter, but I thought nothing of it, since that area has always had a lot of skunks. But at one point I was sitting around when it smelled really bad, and I said to myself "geez, that must've been really close to the house." So I went to the front door, and... no, it didn't smell to bad there. Then I went to the back door, and... no, not bad there, either. Then, with a sinking feeling as I slowly realized what was going on, I went to the windows at the side of the house, and sure enough, the smell wasn't bad there.

The skunks were underneath the house – and that's where they'd sprayed. It was emanating from underneath the living room.

The only good thing I can think of that came out of that is that it finally convinced me to move out of that awful house. I had to pay hundreds of dollars to have the smell removed, and everything I owned at the time still smells of skunk to this day. I still come across stuff in my possessions that smells of that faint, foul stench, and although it's faded and doesn't smell so terrible to other people, to me that smell just means deep, searing pain. And whenever I find something that smells like that – a piece of furniture, a pair of shoes, etc – I wash it obsessively and excessively with hydrogen peroxide, frantically trying to remove that awful odor.
posted by koeselitz at 8:21 AM on October 5, 2010 [5 favorites]

Skunks are so badass. Whenever we run across a family of skunks browsing the trash in an alleyway somewhere at night, they kind of blandly look up for a second, and then continue their meal. They don't even bother kind of scooting away or hissing like raccoons -- they don't need to talk the talk. They walk the fucking stinky walk.
posted by Ouisch at 8:28 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

> Whenever we run across a family of skunks browsing the trash in an alleyway somewhere at night, they kind of blandly look up for a second, and then continue their meal.

Striped skunks suffer from poor vision at a distance of more than 2 or 3 feet.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:30 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I remember "Bruce", a skunk that I spent many a companionable evening ambling alongside when I went to visit my boyfriend in University. He had a garbage can route that parallelled the back route I took from my residence building to my boyfriends. The first time I met him, I was a little leery, but he ignored me in favour of whatever was in the garbage can. From then on, we'd meet up occasionally at night, and walk together, me to the back door of the residence, he to his garbage cans.
Bruce was cool. I let him be, he let me be, and it was good. (his muskiness did not bother me in the slightest)

The best part was that he freaked people out, and nobody bothered me on my walk. Heh heh.
posted by sandraregina at 8:35 AM on October 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

Fun fact, which I discovered up close and personal in my Scouting days of yore -- skunk spray is intensely, virulently green, almost fluorescent.

I was in a summer camp, just after nightfall, and I headed for the outdoor sink to get water to cook dinner. I didn't see the skunk prowling around underneath. He nailed me good, leaving green trails all over my good boots. They figured he must have hit me at like one foot or less, probably from directly under the sink, but it was so dark that I never actually saw him myself. (lesson there: don't look directly into the campfire, it wrecks your night vision.)

Tomato sauce really does seem to cut the odor, and I was tolerable to others after an hour or so of scrubbing, but the (expensive!) boots were unwearable. It took a long, long time (many months) before the smell was gone from them, but I waited it out -- they were too good just to throw out.

I'm yet another who doesn't find skunk all that offensive -- I was exposed to it enough as a kid that I actually find it vaguely pleasant. There were LOTS of dead skunks where I grew up, so I got pretty used to it. Getting hit directly, however, leaves something to be desired.
posted by Malor at 8:36 AM on October 5, 2010

In other words, skunks are awesome.
posted by sandraregina at 8:38 AM on October 5, 2010

Striped skunks suffer from poor vision at a distance of more than 2 or 3 feet.


posted by Ouisch at 8:38 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I very badly want a pet skunk. THIS IS NOT HELPING.
posted by rollbiz at 8:40 AM on October 5, 2010

There's a skunk who hits our garbage pile every Sunday night. He chews open some bags; pulls out some stuff. I've lived in neighbourhoods where people were directed to put garbage out only the morning of pickup, due to raccoons, so I can't help feeling that this is partly our own fault. Anyway, we have a regular meet, the skunk and I. The first time I was in usual late-Sunday-night gear: a robe and flip-flops, so when the skunk spun around to face me as I threw my bag on the heap, it was quite the akward run to escape. I figured it was a one-off, but no, he's there every Sunday night, and we usually scare the hell out of each other. Last time I was sure he wasn't there, but up he popped from the bags. This is somewhat of a comfort to me, as I noted that a neighbour watched one of our exchanges, and pest control was there the next day, so I like to see that skunky dude is still around and ok.

So, confession time. The other night I was out in the backyard -- we usually give a sniff of the air to ensure the skunk isn't around, as our dog did get sprayed by him last year when the skunk decided for whatever reason to check out our yard. Not sure what drew me to the back fence, but suddenly I spied him, across the little common green. And I accidentally discovered his den. Underneath a neighbour's front step. The weight of knowing this secret weighed heavily upon me. I hoped that the neighbour knew (how could they not? Though koeselitz' story gives me pause...) and is harbouring this fugitive from pest control. But I truly do not know, and I have told no one but the missus.

These clips aren't going to get me to change my mind.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:41 AM on October 5, 2010 [4 favorites]

Ouisch, I think your theory still holds, really. Skunks are so badass they don't need to see more than a few feet away.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:46 AM on October 5, 2010

posted by clavdivs at 8:51 AM on October 5, 2010

Yeah skunk smell on the highway not so bad, but if you have ever been close by when they discharge it is like a chemical weapon going off. One got my dog outside my window one night and I will never forget it.

Also, there are a lot of skunk deodorizers on the market, and I can promise you that none of them work. And none of the homemade solutions work either. This stuff actually does work, and it is simply amazing. One application and 5 minutes later the smell is just gone. You can put your nose right up to the fur and there is no smell whatsoever. (we had a skunk population explosion in my neighborhood last year and my dog was getting sprayed every week)
posted by puny human at 8:52 AM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

My dog got sprayed up the nostrils by a skunk. Poor guy buried his face in a blanket and forcible exhaled through his nose for about 2 days, and this was after the scrubbing.
posted by reverend cuttle at 8:54 AM on October 5, 2010

We did the tomato juice thing (thank goodness we didn't just have clamato on hand) and... well it worked about as well as we'd hoped.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:08 AM on October 5, 2010

They also taste great!
posted by daHIFI at 9:10 AM on October 5, 2010


I encourage you to check out porcupines. 1) They have an awesome name in French (I won't spoil it for you). 2) They are heavyweight badasses. One, well... muscled his way through our campsite this last summer.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:12 AM on October 5, 2010

One time I gave an Australian guy ("Tim") a ride from the Portland, Maine airport to the summer camp at which he would be working. He had never been in North America before landing at JFK that morning.

About 10 miles outside of Portland, the odor of skunk wafted into the car. Tim sniffed a bit and looked around. "What's that?" he said.

"It's a skunk," I said. "There are tons around here. They kind of pests."

"It's an animal? Naw, I reckon you're having some fun. Smells like a factory or a tire fire."

Then we drove up on the bloody remains of the skunk, so fresh that it hadn't been there when I passed in the opposite direction an hour previous. The intensity at ground zero didn't leave any room for doubt about the source of the odor.

"I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it," Tim said. "That. Is. Insane."

I thought the reaction was hilarious given that this guy came from the home of the platypus and about 30 kinds of snakes that can kill you just with their gaze.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:16 AM on October 5, 2010 [6 favorites]

Yep, I had a pet skunk for a while.. (thanks to my sister, the biology teacher)... Much like having a cat, but it was a bit more aggressive. It would climb up the back of the couch and grab your hair as you were sitting there...

And, even with the scent gland removed, the darn thing still smelled like a skunk.

Had a porcupine too. Much nicer than the skunk, and it inspired your respect. The trick was to pick it up by sliding your hands from the nose towards the tail, pushing the quills down as you went.. it was a cute bugger!

Having a sister who teaches biology is great when you're about 12 years old.....
posted by HuronBob at 9:18 AM on October 5, 2010

I used to go on 3-mile 2am walks in the park near my house when I was a teenager in San Diego, and the skunks would be all over the damn place. We kept our respectful distance from one another and it gave me a sort of Dances With Wolves feeling.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:22 AM on October 5, 2010

Oh man, skunks are completely adorable.

My ladyfriend recently got to see just how quickly my urge-to-hug overrides my survival instinct. We were walking outside, and about fifteen feet away from us was a skunk. She spotted it, and pointed at it, telling me, "Oh, careful -- skunk!" I immediately started forward to go pet it, and she had to grab my shoulder and say, "NO" before I remembered that when someone points out a skunk, it's usually more a warning than a suggestion to snuggle it.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:24 AM on October 5, 2010 [5 favorites]

When I was about 10, my neighbor's uncle died. Uncle Paul lived in the Uptown section of Chicago and owned a pet store, so his brother (next door neighbor's dad) had to take possession of all of Paul's inventory. Back then, Uptown had a high concentration of rural southern white transplants--Paul was one of them--so his pet shop had skunks, racoons, and possum as well as the standard fish, turtles, dogs, cats & all. We found homes for most everything except a cute 6 month old descented skunk, and my mom was a fool for animals in need, so I wound up with a new pet.

My dad, even though he was not so charitably inclined, saved the life of the skunk a couple of times as it tried to snuggle up to the condenser motor on the chest freezer--bridging the capacitor would have made for fried skunk.

All went well until one day that I was sitting & petting the skunk & she got scared by something--I honestly don't remember what--and she bit me, going through the nail & making a hole clean through my index finger. Bye Bye skunk, hello Trailside Museum!

When I was in my early 20s, my wife wanted to get a pet raccoon, and all I could think about is that pets without a long period of domesticity are probably not ideal as house pets. We talked to about a half-dozen people who had pet raccoons, and not one of them would have repeated the experience. Not one.

Skunks are undeniably cute. At a distance.
posted by beelzbubba at 9:26 AM on October 5, 2010

When I was around twenty or so, I was living with my parents over the summer. I went to enter the garage for some reason from the inside of the house and I saw that there was a skunk in the garage. I went around to the outside to open the garage door to let it out. The garage door was locked. We did not have an automatic opener. I peered in and saw the skunk milling about.

It was about seven or so in the evening, and I had attracted the attention of the next door neighbors. Having a skunk in the garage was rather unusual, so they settled in to watch the action unfold.

I realized I would have to go in through the house, walk past the skunk, and unlock the garage door. Since the garage door made a very loud sound when it was opened, I figured that it would be best to unlock it and then walk back past the skunk into the house. That way, I would be able to open the door and get away much more quickly from the outside.

So I went into the house. I opened the door to the garage and I cautiously stepped in. That was when I saw the other skunk. It had not been visible to me prior to that. I kept my eyes on the two skunks. They were near each other on my left as I made my way through the junk in the garage toward the garage door. I reached the door and slowly unlocked it. It made a rather loud sound just to unlock it. I was terrified that the sound itself would make them spray. It did not. I questioned my plan to walk back past them again, but I did it anyway. They seemed to be going about their business without too much concern for me. I tensely made my way back to the inside door without event.

Now there were several more people outside watching. I happen to like a crowd, so I did my best to be entertaining. I started to make quite a production of the whole thing. I brought everyone up to speed and informed them that I would be walking up to the door, opening it, and running. I needed everyone to make sure that the skunks came out when the door was opened. I am not sure why I thought I needed to run. Did I think that the skunks were going to chase me or something?

So I walked up to the door and saw one of the skunks in about the same spot as I saw him before. I assumed the other one was near the first one but hidden. I reached down and got a good grip on the handle on the bottom of the garage door. I yanked it up with all of my might and took off running down the driveway and into the road. I probably would have been hit by a car if one had been coming.

I walked back toward the garage. I kept a good distance, as did everyone. Reports were that people had seen the skunks exit the garage. They had scurried between the houses and into the back yard. Some people reported definitely seeing one. Some people were pretty sure they saw two. I don't know that anyone really got a great look as they all had been shielding their bodies and eyes as though the house was about to explode. I cautiously walked all the way up to the opening of the garage. There was not a skunk inside. I was pretty sure that the skunks were gone, but I had to be sure. I grabbed an aluminum baseball bat from the front of the garage. I was going to be using it more as a poker, but I suppose it could be a weapon in a pinch. Of course, in a fight between a baseball bat and a skunk, you are sure to lose either way.

I stepped slowly into the garage. My eyes were everywhere. I could not see a skunk. I could not hear a skunk. I held the bat steady in front of me pointing down at a forty-five degree angle (because that is what they teach you in skunk-combat school). As my confidence grew that there were no skunks in there, I began to get a bit more cocky. After all, I had a crowd to entertain. I started to verbally taunt the skunks. I started to more aggressively poke the junk in the garage with the bat. There was no skunk. There was an empty cardboard box that was leaning up against the lawn mower. I assumed the stance of a baseball player, pretended to be watching an invisible pitcher, and swung through the box with considerable force.

It is hard to say whether my neighbors saw one skunk or two skunks when I opened that door. There were conflicting reports. But if they saw two skunks, then there was a third one that no one knew about.

I found myself standing directly above a skunk that had been hiding under the box. It was less than two feet from my shoes. There was an immediate discharge of fluid, and it did not come from the skunk. I ran back out of the garage, still clinging to the bat.

The skunk made its way out five or ten minutes later. I watched it this time. I went back and very cautiously checked to see if there were anymore. There was no taunting that time around.
posted by flarbuse at 9:27 AM on October 5, 2010 [18 favorites]

In my experience, skunks suck at not getting hit by cars. They're fairly plentiful in my area, and any time one gets run over within 5 blocks of me, my entire house smells like nothing but skunk for two hours. All you guys who think it doesn't smell are welcome to come over and tell me about how it doesn't smell.

I mean, sure, it's not that it's the absolute worst smell in the world. Cat shit probably smells worse, but it only smells for like five minutes. The issue with skunk-stink is that it's so persistent and so pervasive, that it completely overwhelms the environment for a long period of time.
posted by anazgnos at 9:34 AM on October 5, 2010

My wife saw a skunk this weekend with a cup stuck on its head, like in this video.
She felt sorry for it and wanted to help, but....no.
posted by MtDewd at 9:40 AM on October 5, 2010

In high school, I babysat for a family that had four kids, two dogs, two cats, a pet skunk, and a pet raccoon. All at the same time.

The coon and the skunk slept in the same small dog bed. It was so cute it made you want to puke.
posted by Leta at 9:46 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

all I could think about is that pets without a long period of domesticity are probably not ideal as house pets

I wonder if the Russian silver fox breeding experiments don't suggest that it doesn't take more than a few generations.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:57 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

That first video looks a lot more like biting than cuddling to me.
posted by baf at 10:01 AM on October 5, 2010

Thanks, Skunks. Thunks.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:04 AM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nine skunk night
posted by DaddyNewt at 10:04 AM on October 5, 2010

From a distance, skunk smells like weed. Close up, however...

My SO is a duck hunter who often leaves for distant refuges at 3 am in order to be in the blinds at sunup. His usual routine includes having our dog run out back to take a leak before getting in the car. Our dog is a lab and like all labs gets terribly excited about going to Do His Job so I always get woken up a little by the sound of him crashing around under the bedroom window while he does that weird run where he bongos around in the bushes doing that silly dog run with the ears laid back and the tail tucked under.

One night last year, I'm almost back asleep after they leave but something smells like it's burning. So I get up, look out of the windows, no sign of fire. Crawl back into bed and crawl right back out because the smell is getting stronger. Look out the windows again, walk around inside the house, everything is fine, there's no smoke, none of the smoke detectors are going off but the smell is continuing to grow. In fact, it smells a whole lot like frying plastic or maybe wire insulation so here I am at 4 am having unplugged all the appliances and now crawling on hands and knees from room to room sniffing at every electrical outlet in the house while feeling the walls for hot spots. The smell grows so bad that I can no longer enter the back half of the house and I'm about to call the fire department when the phone rings, it's SO telling me our dog got sprayed by a skunk in our backyard, direct hit to the chest. He didn't figure it out until after the dog had jumped into his car and started to barrel-roll all over the seats, trying to scrape the stink off his fur.

The smell in the house is awful, it's palpable, it's not only driven me into the front of the house, but all but one of our cats has joined me in the living room, lips curled. I later learn our male cat stayed behind to try to fight fire with fire by liberally urinating on the wall under the bedroom window.

It was three days and a massive cleanup effort before I could sleep in my own bedroom again. It was a week before we could enter the backyard. Despite numerous baths in various guaranteed-to-remove-odor potions, our dog reeked of skunk for 6 weeks. And to this day, when you get into my non-smoking SOs car, it smells faintly of weed.
posted by jamaro at 10:14 AM on October 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

Skunks also love to burrow. With bonus yawning action at the end.
posted by peep at 10:36 AM on October 5, 2010

That baby skunk cuddle vid gave me such an oxytocin rush. Thanks. :)

Adding Pepé Le Pew into the conflicted love mix.
posted by nickyskye at 10:41 AM on October 5, 2010

My dad has always claimed that he had a pet skunk (with the stink-making organ removed) as a child. Is this even possible? I don't really know, but it's always made me a little obsessed with wanting one myself. They're the cutest.
When I was a kid (early 1970s) B'wana Don's pet store used to sell de-scented skunks.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:37 AM on October 5, 2010

"Pet skunk" has its own wiki entry, incidentally.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:46 AM on October 5, 2010

I think one or two of those might actually be a badger
posted by tehloki at 11:59 AM on October 5, 2010

I love the annoyed cat in the last video.
posted by sawdustbear at 12:02 PM on October 5, 2010

I think one or two of those might actually be a badger

Or possibly a griffin.
posted by infinitywaltz at 12:23 PM on October 5, 2010

add me to the list of those who like the smell. where i live, the smell almost always indicates a skunk's last stand against the mighty automobile, so to me, it's sort of like the skunk's "kilroy was here" moment.

a few years ago, we decided to let our cat out. that same night, when he came back in, all i could smell was raw onions. i checked the garbage -- no onions. fridge -- no onions. then i noticed the cat was squinting. turns out he'd gotten sprayed in the face by a skunk. it was so fresh, his fur was still wet. but the smell was distinctly oniony. we did the baking soda thing, but it took weeks for the smell to come out (and for his dignity to return).

not sure i'm a fan of domesticating wild animals, though. sure, they're cute, but haven't we monkeys tampered with enough already?
posted by flyingsquirrel at 12:24 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

whoops, meant to link to this (from our backyard in '06).
posted by flyingsquirrel at 12:26 PM on October 5, 2010

Wow. American Domestic Skunk Assocaition (aka: "skunkhaven").

Skunk products, skunk care tips, skunk vet listings, SkunkFest, and skunks available for adoption... (warning: terrible web design)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:38 PM on October 5, 2010

Uh-oh. The word has lost all meaning.

skunk skunk skunk skunk skunk
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:39 PM on October 5, 2010 [3 favorites]

Skunk weed
posted by Burhanistan at 12:48 PM on October 5, 2010

Yeah, I'm another one who doesn't find skunk smell too bad. Some people do seem more sensitive to it than others. Whenever the gagging and retching has started in cars I've been in I always just think there's a slight smell of scorched rubber, as if someone had just skidded nearby. I'm sure it's way stronger up close and personal but the actual character of the odour doesn't seem especially offensive to me.
posted by Decani at 2:02 PM on October 5, 2010

posted by elder18 at 4:41 PM on October 5, 2010

When sleeping under the stars on a backpacking trip, I was awoken by a skunk trying to get into my pack, conveniently located under my pillow. I woke my partner up: skunk!, and he pulled his head into his sleeping bag and went back to sleep. I tentatively slapped the tarp we were sleeping on to try to scare the skunk away. He just tried harder to wiggle into my pack, stuffing his face into below the flap that covered the pullcord. I started smacking the pack, but he didn't care. Finally, I woke my partner up, and we picked up the edges of the tarp and ran away across the meadow with it, jettisoning the skunk and the lemon poppyseed bread he managed to grab. Went back to sleep and all was well.

I guess there's just no way to know if they are going to decide to spray you. I think the chances are a little better if the skunk is holding onto something he'd like to eat.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:42 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Count me in the "skunks don't smell so bad group."

For me the smell reminds me of going to my grandparents' house as a kid. I grew up in Atlanta, but my grandparents lived in Green Bank, West Virginia. And we'd drive up there every summer for a couple weeks vacation. Whenever I'd get that feint scent of skunk, I knew we couldn't be much more than an hour or so from our destination.
posted by snwod at 5:20 PM on October 5, 2010

good luck finding a vet who'll degland a skunk
posted by titboy at 5:29 PM on October 5, 2010

Deg my love, deg my land
deg me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the stink from me...
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:36 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

*sigh* It's been a long day.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:36 PM on October 5, 2010

There's only one thing cuter than a little baby striped skunk. A BABY SPOTTED ONE.

I used to live at a house with several enormous avocado trees. The skunks would get an avocado down, eat half of it, and come back for the other half the next night. Like clockwork. Musta been pudgy little fellas.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:31 PM on October 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

We had a skunk spray a cat on the front door step once. As it often was, the front door was open, and that cat shot off and hit every piece of furniture in every room in the place, upstairs and downstairs, before we caught her. We tried the tomato juice thing, but she got away from us before we could rinse her. For three days she lived just out of reach and on the fourth day she wandered in through the front door smelling to high heaven of both skunk and rotten tomato juice. Looked real wierd, too. Kind of hairy terra cotta.

At another house, though, the skunks got hip to the fact that the cats had their food in the garage with a cat door to get in and out. Naturally, they dug that. They would just fly through that cat door. Made us nervous because we also had a cat door into the house, but they never came in. They used to sleep on the patio with the cats. You'ld go out the patio door and there would be a cat curled up in one corner, and a skunk curled up in another. No sweat.
posted by carping demon at 1:19 AM on October 6, 2010

Popular topic on AskMe...
posted by beelzbubba at 8:23 AM on October 6, 2010

Count me in the "skunks don't smell so bad group."

Count me against. About ten years ago when my dog was about a year old she cornered one in the yard and I ended up separating the two of them. We were both very heavily sprayed. To this day when she smells one the hair on her back will go up and she'll quietly growl though she doesn't go after them.
posted by Tenuki at 6:01 PM on October 6, 2010

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