Friday, April 25, 2008

Skunks: Weigh Your Risks

Originally placed with the Weasel Family, Skunks were later moved to their own family of Mephitidae (meaning “stench”) which includes the Stink Badgers of Southeast Asia. (Skunks’ DNA were found to be different from the Weasels’.) These bold patterned Mammals go about their business, self-assured and self-confident since no other animal wants to be squirted with a bad smelling musk. The world “skunk” comes from the Abenaki (Native Americans of New England) word segonku which means “One who squirts.”

Before a skunk sprays an intruder, They will warn them first. First a Skunk will arch their back and walk towards the offender. Then the Skunk will lift his tail and click his teeth. After stamping his feet, the Skunk does a headstand and sprays the offender.

Thought of as brave and feisty, Skunk goes about His life unperturbed. But his spraying comes with a physiological cost. While replenishing his spray, Skunk is defenseless for ten days. However, most Animals do not wish to gamble on that chance. So They avoid Skunks.

Skunk Family teaches us to weigh the risks before taking action. Do not be too clever for your own good. Go about your business with self-confidence.

Teachings from Skunk Family Include:
“We saw a couple of skunks -- odious animals. Conscious of its power, it roams by day about the open plain, and fears neither dog nor man. Certain it is, that every animal willing makes room for the Zorillo (skunk).” Copyright: “Voyage of the Beagle” by Charles Darwin.

“Skunk teaches us to be clever but not foolish. Take risks when they are worthwhile, but do not become a daredevil, flaunting your mortality to the universe.” Copyright: The Nahualli Animal Oracle by Caelum Rainieri and Ivory Andersen.

Skunk Family’s Wisdom Includes:
Having a Reputation
Nonviolent Action
Honor Yourself
Self-respect Brings Other’s Respect


Science Note: Although Skunks are also called “polecats”, they are not relatives of the European Polecat (Mustela putorius). Meanwhile Zorilla (Striped Polecat), Ictonyx striatus, which looks like a typical Skunk, is a member of the Weasel Family.

Note: Hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and liquid soap mixed together is the most effective to remove the smell. DO NOT PUT THIS MIXTURE INTO A BOTTLE OR IT WILL EXLODE.

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