Saturday, October 30, 2010

Stinky Visitors

We have been having something that has been digging holes every where in the yard. The neighbor even said the other day that he's got the same problem too. Nathan has also noticed that something has been digging in the cow patties out in the pasture.

We think we may have figured out what is doing all this......skunks.

A week or so ago when we were about ready to go to bed, John looked out the patio door and saw one under the 2 pines trees (they are about 20 ft apart) right off the patio that have bird feeders in them. I grabbed the camera not knowing how the pics would turn out since it was so dark outside....this was about 1:00 am.

I (actually we) learned something from this picture.....

After I took it and looked at it, I notice (and maybe you did too) that the white stripe on his back doesn't go in one line from nose to tail. This is how a skunk is suppose to look right?!?! His goes into a V pattern after leaving the head. HUMM...... this is strange. I asked John about it and he didn't know either....and he knows his animals.

Can't say that I've seen a wild skunk up close before as they are largely nocturnal and seldom come out until late in the day and retire to their hideouts early in the morning. So we don't see them in daylight..... and if I did, I wouldn't stay very close anyway! So I got online to figure out who this guys was.

Well.... come to find out, the skunk that we have always thought was THEE skunk (the one that has a stripe down the back from nose to tail) doesn't even live around here. It's called a Hooded Skunk and lives in the southwest US and Mexico. The guy above is a Striped Skunk and they live everywhere and are the skunk that lives here in Ohio. Well didn't know that! Also learned that there is another skunk (which doesn't live around here either) that I would of never thought was a skunk if I ran into it...not that I would want to. It is the Spotted Skunk and it looks crazy! Click here to see a picture of one.

A few days later.......

Another skunk spotting so back out on the patio to take another pic.....good thing we have zoom. Actually most of the time I can get about 15 ft away from them (I'm still on the patio) as they don't notice I'm there as they are busy eating. this one doesn't have any stripes at all, or much of anything really.

We were thinking it was an immature one as it looks like it's thinking about getting stripes (you can faintly see some), but back online to find out for sure. Well this gets interesting......

This is what Wikipedia says:
Although the most common fur color is black and white, some skunks are brown or grey, and a few are cream-colored. All skunks are striped, even from birth. They may have a single thick stripe across back and tail, two thinner stripes, or a series of white spots and broken stripes (in the case of the spotted skunk). Some also have stripes on their legs.

Another site says: Each Striped Skunk has a unique stripe pattern.

OK.... since skunks have strips at birth, then our theory that it's an immature one developing it's strip doesn't fit anymore. I guess about anything goes in the skunk strip world.

Skunk Convention........

The other night before going to bed, John again looked out the patio door and we had a party going on out there! There were 3 this time! Grabbed the camera again and back out I went.

These 2 were under one pine tree .....

.......and our 'no strip' skunk (or at least we think it's him) was under the other one.

I guess we now know why we have sooo many holes in our yards as it seems to of been a good year for skunks. I do get digging in my garden, but at the moment there isn't much out there, and it seems to happen more in the spring.....right after I plant.....but that can be raccoons doing that too.

Even though we have so many around, we seldom smell any. If the patio doors would of been open while they were all out there, their smell would not of tipped us off as there was no smell to them.

I'm glad they came to visit as we're all the smarter for it. You learn something everyday!

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