As if skunks, the world-(in)famous stench-producing fur babies, weren’t already ridiculous enough, a video going viral on Twitter is teaching many for the first time what they sound like. The footage, captured by an unsuspecting cyclist, shows a mother and four babies snuffling their way around the countryside making quite the racket and it’s honestly the audio-visual tonic we all so desperately need right now.
Despite their adorable appearance and heartwarming depiction in Disney’s Bambi, skunks are weaponized. These North and South American mammals belong to the family Mephitidae, alongside the glamorously named (and now extinct) stink badgers. Much like their stink badger relatives, skunks are capable of spraying a foul liquid when threatened, which smells just awful. It’s been likened by those unlucky enough to be on the receiving end to eggs and burnt onion.
The odorous weaponry is a defense mechanism to ward off predators, but it’s not one used lightly. The glands that contain the spray can take up to 10 days to replenish their stocks, meaning that once emptied the skunk is vulnerable. As such, skunks will usually stamp their feet and use their claws and teeth and even do handstands before spraying at will. The spray itself isn’t usually harmful in the long term but can be a real pain to wash off. As well as causing significant trauma to the senses, the spray can cause brief loss of vision so please keep all skunks firmly at ground level.
The cat-sized animals have a pretty good aim with their spray guns, making a close-up encounter a risky business. Fortunately, the brave cyclist who shot the footage holds their ground long enough for the mother and her four adorable kits (as if they’re not called skunklets) to get within earshot. The resulting footage reveals that this mean, lean, stink-producing machine has a roar about as ferocious as Beaker from The Muppets.
Some Twitter users have pointed out how the cute sounds, which stand at a bit of a juxtaposition to the animal producing them, compare to porcupines. Specifically, this porcupine, Teddy Bear, who enjoys eating pumpkins.
Now that’s quite enough animal frivolity for one day. Back to your pandemic reading.
LOL jk, watch this skunk do a handstand dance.