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Skunk Showdown

Posted on Jul 23, 2015

This…this is no good. In between all of the time the pictured Striped Skunk spent foraging, digging zealously for grubs in the wet soil, it had an encounter with a local cat.

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I did not think this showdown was going to end well for the neighborhood feline to say the very least. I personally know this cat to be a bold, inquisitive and mostly fearless individual – in other words, a cat. I focused on the skunk in the above photo and the cat in a subsequent shot having to keep the aperture wide open in the low evening light.

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You can see the skunk is entirely engrossed in its snacks. Between that eating and the fact skunks really are rather docile creatures with poor eyesight things went better than expected as the cat walked away a minute later, albeit within 15 feet of the skunk.

Skunk cat-0713

I do not know if the skunk was unaware the cat was there or it did not care. You really have to maliciously engage a skunk to get it to spray, and even then it will first stamp its feet and threaten you a bit.

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Just as a rattlesnake would only attack with precious venom as a last resort, a skunk has to conserve its spray and rely on that imposing black and white design and the thought of the stench more than anything.

Skunk yard-0659

Nevertheless, put the cats in the house already, and never let them out! Nature is for wildlife, not invasive pests (or family members) throwing off the balance of our ecosystem. Good digging to you, peaceful pal!

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator