Cyclist Holds His Breath When a Family of Skunks Approaches and Sniffs Him

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: October 29, 2023
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The gorgeous family of skunks in this clip have no fear of humans – or bicycles! This footage also makes it clear that even though we may not wish to smell skunks, they have no problem with sniffing us. This adorable clip was captured in Pointe-Taillon National Park in Quebec, Canada, and may change the way you feel about skunks.

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Where Do Striped Skunks Normally Live?

There are several species of skunks but the animals featured in this clip are likely to be striped skunks. Their scientific name is Mephitis mephitis and they are a member of the Mephitidae family along with badgers and other skunk species.

Their range spans North America covering most of the continental United States and the southern regions of Canada. They can also be seen in some parts of northern Mexico. In terms of habitat, the environment we see in this clip is typical for them. They are found in woodlands, forests, and wooded ravines. However, they can also be spotted on grassy plains. More recently, they have been spotted in suburban areas. It is quite easy to spot a striped skunk. They are predominantly black but they have a thin, white stripe along the center of their snout. It runs along their back and then splits into a thick V shape as it approaches their rump.

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How Many Offspring Do Skunks Have?

Young striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) near the human dwelling

Striped skunks can have up to 10 kits.

©Karel Bock/iStock via Getty Images

The mother skunk in this clip has four babies with her. Young skunks are called kits. Their breeding usually takes place between February and April but there may be a secondary breeding in May if the first litter is not successful. Female skunks are pregnant for between 59 and 77 days. The litters can range between two and 10 kits but litters of around four or five are most common.

Newborn kits do not open their eyes until they are around three weeks old and are weaned when they are about six or seven weeks. This is when they learn to forage and hunt by following their mother around. They can often be spotted following their mom in a single line. At this time, they are highly reliant on the protection of their mother and she can get very defensive if the family is approached. The guy in this clip did exactly the right thing by standing still so that he did not make her feel nervous.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © bobloblaw/iStock via Getty Images

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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