Are You Nature Buff Enough for the Skunk?

Everyone’s a nature buff in their own mind. Most folks adore cute baby critters and admire the strength of our large predators. But, how many even want to think about skunks? It takes a true connoisseur of the animal kingdom to learn that those silky black striped beauties that can dose everyone about them with a massive burst of ghastly cologne have cousins–the western spotted skunks.

Scent marking behavior in both striped and spotted skunks! By Kim Cabrera

Local tracker Kim Cabrera writes, “Western spotted skunks are small, about half the size of the more familiar striped skunk. They are bundles of energy, always on the go… Incredibly energetic and excellent hunters, spotted skunks are one of the rarer skunks to be seen by people.”

Both the familiar and the more exotic variety can be seen on the video and below is one that Cabrera caught in her shed.


Aww! Who wouldn’t love that face?

…………………………………(The other end though? Yikes!)



  • I have a family of these cute stinky critters living under my garage that are just aching to squirt my dog and has us all living in fear, so if you love them so much feel free to come get mine. : )~

    • We had one living under our house. Right under the kitchen no less. UGH! So I looked up on line and put up one of those clip on shop lights with a extension cord. Placed it right there shining 24/7 for a few weeks . It left, they do not like light! Button up all screens and holes. Kept light on for a few more weeks. Never came back. Don’t feel sorry they have lots of briars and culvert pipes to live in;) Good Luck.

    • I use mothballs to chase off troubling wildlife. I caught a spotted skunk in house with a haveahart trap and a tarp to control smell. The spotted skunk walks around on his front paws. Check out photo

  • Little known fact. The scent glands of the skunk were used as a base ingredient in high end perfume. Due to its incredible aromatic properties as a scent carrier.
    My Great uncle would trap them and sell it for money during the Great Depression.

  • Thanks, Kim! Always look forward to your posts.

  • We always call those smaller ones a Civet Cat..let one go from the track can a few weeks back. cute little thing..

    • Some people call Ringtails Civet cats, too…they can also spray musk if they want to…and are fairly common around Humboldt…

      • I saw a ring tail cat last year on Benbow Hill. (Ran over) I thought it was a baby coon at first. But Nope, Ring Tail Cat.
        I knew that they stink, but I didn’t know that they sprayed. The pioneer folks used to catch them and keep them in their houses for pets and to catch their mice. I wasn’t there so I don’t know for sure. Just one of those old folks stories that was passed down to me

      • I have never seen or heard of the animal in your picture before. Thanks for the picture and the post.

  • They become very aggressive around compost piles. I lived on a farm a thousand years ago where there were nightly battles between raccoons and skunks. Got home a little late one night and had to walk past the Mad Max scene in full swing — snarling and growling and fur flying — and one of those little monsters came after me… with his tail up.

    So I ran. He CHASED me!

    He didn’t get me, but he made sure I was not getting one scrap of steaming broccoli leaves.

    I don’t know what spot this was where the camera was, but they don’t usually have their tails up like that unless they’re scared or there’s threat… or some other skunky situation I don’t know about.

  • I have heard they can make great pets if the scent gland is removed. Kind of like a cat. But then, what cat is capable of digging out a yellow jacket nest like a skunk.

    • My sister had a pet skunk back in the 60’s. The scent gland was removed and it had all it’s rabies shots. It still had a slight skunk odor, not not too objectionable. It’s name was Phew. She would hide treats for it to find as it wandered around the house. It was a very inquisitive and interesting pet.

  • I had a pet skunk named, Odie. He was very sweet and social. A fun fact about the Western Spotted Skunk is they will walk on their front paws in a handstand when they feel threatened.

  • One night I left the screen door by my bed open a crack and heard it open wider as a ringtailed skunk squeezed in and went into the kitchen for the catfood. I grabbed my two sleepy cats under my arm and put them in my vehicle and crept back in, listening and hearing it crunching away. How does one encourage a skunk to leave one’s house without incidence?
    It must have heard me and walked the perimeter of my one room as I clambered over the counter and grabbed the catfood plate. I made a trail from the middle of the room of the Friskies to the door way and put a pile outside, diving back under the covers with a peep hole. To my relief it I got an upclose peek as it followed the trail and went outside as I slowly closed the sliding glass door.

  • “My” spotted skunks come in the cat door almost every evening. They pay me no mind, and don’t spray or poop on the floor. They’re good neighbors, and eat termites. Just don’t leave cat food out at night, and remember to close up your cat door after dark, and you’ll not be bothered. Note: Their only natural enemy (besides hysterical humans) is the owl. Owls have no sense of smell. And if you MUST move a skunk, pick it up by the tail (disables the pertinent mechanism.) af

  • Look out for rabies they get wiped out by it fairly often, and are very agressive when they have it.

    • True, so I’m vaccinated for rabies. Encephalitis is a much bigger problem, and no vaccine. Learn all you can about both; safety in the Back Woods! af

    • So true. Had to stop a couple people from trying to catch a lurching skunk one time. They were all, aw, poor thing, he’s sick, we should take him to the vet, etc, etc, and I had to scream at the top of my lungs to stop them in their tracks.

      If you see a skunk abroad in the daytime, lurching or not, get the hell away from it and make sure everyone else does too.

  • Back when High Rock camp was still run by the C.C.C. I worked in the Auto shop. My boss had a civet cat that lived in the parts room, it would eat from his hand. He named it PP and enjoyed sending people he didn’t like or wanted to get rid of back there. They would come in and try to shmoosh some part or get some job done in a hurry. Lenord would say “oh yeah that part came in yesterday. It’s in the parts room, would you get it for me?” They allways made a quick exit. He also had a healer that liked to sneak up on people and nip them. Wonder what ever happened to that guy?

  • Love the stories folks… being a veteran segue-er… a regular skunk invaded an open space between our house and an outbuilding one evening. As we peered around the corner of the outbuilding we could barely see the little critter, and decided to sprint for the house. I backed up a few spaces and took off running just as the skunk rounded the corner coming our way. I took a step a short pace from its snout, and with that wisdom of the body that takes over during crises, vaulted the skunk and had time to get away before its tail went up and it did what they do. Maybe not a Seth Kinman level story, but true.
    ps. the civets, or spotted skunks that I have seen have the loveliest wispy tails, almost feathery.

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