Striped Skunk’s Nighttime Ramblings

by Rebecca Martin, East Earl, PA | Mar 2, 2022 | 0 comments

Striped skunks in log
Striped Skunks. Photo ©

The majestic moon climbs silently over the dark forest and hills, shining its silver light upon the peaceful woodland. Deep inside a hollow log, a night creature stirs and stretches its sleepy limbs. Rising on her padded paws, Striped Skunk steps carefully over five wee baby skunks, deserting her bed of dried grass and mosses. There she will leave her offspring until she returns from a nightly hunt.

The skunk ambles slowly out into the open. She seems aware of only one thing—her hungry stomach. Her tiny pointed nose sniffs the night air as she shuffles along with a clumsy gait. Her bushy black tail with a white stripe bobs along behind.

The lone hoot of an owl echoes through the treetops, then the yip-yap of an eager red fox as it trails a terrified cottontail bunny. Seemingly unmindful of these night predators, the skunk tears away at a rotted stump and hungrily licks up escaping ants. You see, this creature has very few enemies, and, if it is ever threatened, it is armed with a potent, defensive weapon!

Let’s go back and see what our bushy-tailed creature is doing now. She hungrily smacks her lips and leaves the now-deserted stump behind.

The skunk starts out in a clumsy gallop along the narrow winding path leading to the creek. The serene pool of water ripples as a startled frog leaps into the creek. After lapping up a refreshing drink of the cool waters, the skunk resumes her journey.

She wanders over to some stones and uses her forefeet, digging her claws into the soft earth. A stone is inched over and a juicy beetle tries to make its escape, but is soon gobbled up. After all the fat beetles are gone, the skunk turns homeward. High in the sky, the waning moon dimly lights the narrow forest path.

The skunk pauses as a twig snaps up ahead. Dry grass rustles. A curious farm dog stops short when it sees the approaching skunk! Is this small critter a kitty? He has chased many a cat back on the farm.

The dog has no intentions of respecting this little critter! Advancing closer, he utters a low growl. The skunk, provoked by this bold creature, drums her forefeet on the ground and growls. The dog yaps suspiciously as he dances around, unsure what to make of the black “kitty.”

As a last resort, the skunk arches her back and raises her tail. All of a sudden the foolish dog yelps in fright and pain as a strong spray pelts his nose, eyes, and seemingly everywhere else. He rolls over and over, trying to get the awful smell out of his nose and his blinded, stinging eyes.

The skunk’s spray had hit the dog directly in its face. This musk can make a predator temporarily blind or even sick. The skunk now is left to itself again as the dog races home at top speed, tail pinched and head lowered.

The night is now far spent, and the eastern sky is hinting of dawn. Resuming her journey, the skunk presently enters the mossy hollow log, located beneath a dense thicket of honeysuckle bushes on a south slope.

She churrs softly at the five baby skunks as they nestle securely beside her for warmth and nourishment. After two or three weeks, their scent glands will develop and their eyes will open. Then at two months, they are ready to head out with their mother for nighttime hunting forays.

Nature has many marvelous creatures for us to observe and learn from. Hike along nature’s trails and find out for yourself what a wonderful Creator we have!

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