By John Pollpeter Usually we don’t give them much thought. We smell their dead on the road or check out our campsite late in the evening. The skunk, known locally as the “pole cat,” is a unique member of our Buy Zone ecosystem. The term “polar cat” comes from a close relative found in Eurasia. Change name with European settlement. It is an old French word for chicken- “bag”. So, in essence, polecat means “cat eats chicken.” The word “skunk” comes from the name Algonquin, as well as other common American animals such as elk and holly. You’ll often see white, black, and even pinkish skunk raid picnic tables all over campgrounds and backyards. One local theory about the different coat colors is that the isolated nature of the Land between The Lakes peninsula makes their populations genetically unique.Awe…. What a “Polecat!” Small cute! Staff photo In February, after a long sleep or chirping, male skunks begin to appear. These male skunks begin to seek out wintering bushes, insect nests, frozen carcasses, and receptive females. For most of winter, these stinky fellows spend their time hiding in a tree stump or rock crevice to escape colder temperatures. In many cases, they refuse to some other skunks. Skunks are not true hibernations like bats and groundhogs. The skunk’s body does not change significantly to withstand the winter. Often thought to be members of the mink family, such as otters, weasels, and badgers, recent DNA work has placed skunks in their own family, Mephitidae, which oddly means “smellers”. They can be found in both tall grassy savannas and mountaintop forests, but prefer middle fringe habitats In good habitat, a skunk can be found every six to eleven acres. Skunks are eclectic eaters that eat just about anything they can find. Skunks eat bees, wasps, snakes, rodents, kill sugar and any kind of plant. European settlement and fragmentation of forests have allowed the striped skunk to expand its range. Their poor eyesight and lazy attitude can make people feel more relieved when faced with this animal’s “business”. Its powerful chemical weapons have proven to be an effective deterrent against most predators. This pungent odor can be noticed up to a mile and a half away. A skunk can direct these scent glands to the back, to the sides, and even the front of its body. They can shoot accurately up to fifteen feet. So don’t be fooled. These glands contain up to 4 tablespoons of volatile odors, giving it the ability to shoot out 5 to 6 rounds. (Scroll down to find a recipe for getting rid of the pet of laziness) Curiously, skunks or their burrows rarely stink. Skunks don’t want to waste this precious defense, so they’ll usually give some warning before emitting one. Stumbling, clicking their teeth, and extending their tails should provide the most observable warnings to avoid being sprayed. Most people can outrun the fastest skunks; Skunks run about six miles an hour. Also, skunks are not great climbers. Only spotted skunks in Eastern Kentucky feed on trees. These large owls lack a sense of smell. Owls can easily see their distinctive black and white stripes, which skunks use as their nocturnal warning color. This powerful chemical can cause temporary blindness, disorientation and make life miserable for humans or owls.Skunks in the middle of the lake, Photo by Kelly Sellers Because they are unique and mostly harmless, skunks are the number two vectors of rabies transmission in wildlife (dogs and cats tend to spread the disease). to more people); panda is number one. The last time skunks/humans transferred rabies occurred in 1981. Fortunately, skunks can be easily avoided by staying away from the slow-moving creatures. Skunks that go outside during the day, tripping over, full of ticks, poor grooming, and bubbling at the mouth are the best signs to avoid them at all costs. Call a conservation officer or animal control officer if you notice this behavior. These adorable “pole cats” do a valuable job for us by minimizing harmful insects, rodents and killing sugar rot. So take your time driving on the road at night and please make room for the pondering polecats. In the end, you’ll have a pet that smells like a dried tomato. Try this recipe will be more successful.
- Mix a solution of one quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, a ¼ cup of baking soda, and a teaspoon of detergent, rinse, and repeat.
- It is best to do the procedure externally and mix in place. Do not store the solution, it will lose its effectiveness and may continue to react and break the sealed container. Sometimes, it can bleach your pet.
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