Skunks are mammals that belong to the Mephitidae family.
This family is known for its characteristic defense mechanism of secreting a yellowish, strong-smelling liquid from their anal scent glands when they feel threatened.
What Skunks Smell Like
This secretion and smell are skunks’ primary means of defense. Different kinds of skunks have different kinds of scents:
- Spotted skunks give off a musk scent that smells like strong cheese.
- Striped skunks, on the other hand, spray a fluid whose smell resembles that of rotten eggs. They are considered more dangerous since it sprays its stinky secretion upwards—potentially reaching the eyes or mouth.
- Hog-nosed skunks are the most dangerous kind since they spray their stinky secretion directly at their assailants. They give off a smell like that of a dead carcass. This is because the hog-nosed, unlike spotted or striped skunks, rarely ever wash themselves with water; instead, they use the stinky mixtures in their scent glands for self-cleaning.
The Importance of Scent in Skunks
Scent plays an important role in male skunks’ lives, not only because it helps them mark off territories where they are supposed to be dominant, but also because it is used to attract mates.
Female skunks are able to reproduce all year round, except when it is winter, and can give birth to 4-7 little ones at a time.
Skunks are omnivores that feed on insects, earthworms, frogs, eggs, and occasionally small animals. That explains the smell.
Keen Smell for a Smelly Animal
Their sense of smell is 300 times stronger than the human’s; this helps them unearth grubs in dark burrows and earthworms from the ground.
Additionally, a skunk’s sense of smell is also used to determine whether fruit or an egg is rotten and should not, therefore, be eaten.
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