Did you know that in addition to being Flag Day, June 14th is also National Skunk Day?! And since a pair of the little stinkers play an important role in GOODNIGHT, ARK, I’ve grown especially fond of the species.
So now, in celebration of skunks, not just once a year, but every day, here’s a fun quiz to test your skunk expertise.
1. TRUE or FALSE: All skunks have black and white stripes.
2.TRUE or FALSE: A batch of baby skunks is called a litter.
3. TRUE or FALSE: Spraying that stinky mist is a skunk’s first defense mechanism.
4. Which of the following predators are IMMUNE to the skunk’s stinky spray?
A. foxes B. coyotes C. great horned owls D.badgers
5. TRUE or FALSE: Bathing in tomato juice is the best remedy for “de-skunking”.
ANSWERS: (Skunk’s honor: no peeking until after the quiz.)
1. FALSE: All skunks are black and white which acts as a warning for predators to keep away. The specific fur patterning, however, varies. Different types of skunks have different black and white patterns including stripes, spots, and swirls.
2. TRUE: Skunk babies are born in the spring. Mother skunks typically give birth to between two and ten babies per year. The babies follow their mother around until late summer when they are ready to be on their own.
3. FALSE: Lifting the tail and spraying is a skunk’s LAST line of defense. Before resorting to spraying, skunks give several warning signs including growling, stomping feet and, finally, raising tails and hind legs while stomping. These advanced warning signals give predators time to back-off without getting sprayed.
4. C. Great Horned Owls, and most larger birds of prey, are immune to the skunk’s stinky spray.
5. FALSE: Actually, according the Humane Society plain old tomato juice isn’t all that effective because it lacks the acidity necessary to neutralize the chemicals in the stinky spray. Adding vinegar helps somewhat, but the best way to “de-skunk”, according the Humane Society, is to make your own odor neutralizing home remedy. For more on that, visit this helpful post from Humane Society.