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Skunks are unusual mammals. So let's find out a little more about them.
Skunks are carriers of the rabies virus. It is said that these creatures can infect other mammals with rabies by biting them. In fact, in this regard, skunks do not stand out - the bite of one animal by another, sick, leads to the transmission of the virus. And most wild animals shun skunks not because of their frenzied disposition and fear of infection, but simply for fear of spraying a fetid liquid. That is why it is unlikely that a skunk will be bitten by another animal at all.
Skunks are the main vectors of rabies. It turns out that unvaccinated street cats and stray dogs have a much greater risk of contracting rabies due to the high likelihood of contact with wild creatures. The statistics of skunk rabies are biased, in each American state, other creatures take the first places in infection.
Foam at the skunk's mouth speaks of his rabies. In fact, such a symptom may also indicate plague, coccidia, roundworms, ticks, other external or internal parasites, diabetes, poisoning, liver problems, epilepsy, allergies, herpes, dehydration or exhaustion. All these factors are more common in an animal than rabies.
The bite of a mad skunk leads to death. Statistics show that out of 70% of skunk victims, no one developed rabies or anything else if the wound was properly examined and cleaned. However, reasonable security measures should not be ignored.
After the rehabilitation of animals, orphans infected with rabies may be released. If done correctly, this is unlikely to happen. A baby skunk goes into rehab at four to five months of age. If he had been infected with the rabies virus, he would have died by then. Unleashed skunks are supervised long enough to be sure they are not sick with rabies.
Skunks can carry the rabies virus for up to two years. This claim has never been confirmed. And even if it were true, you can get rabies from an infected animal, which will not show any symptoms for another week. And it doesn't matter how much it gets sick - two weeks or two years. The virus is transmitted by saliva from an animal that may well appear to be harmless.
Scientists believe the only way to test a skunk for rabies is by removing the head and examining the brain. This approach seems rather cruel. There are much more humane treatments that can be done with live skunks. They consist in the analysis of saliva, tear ducts, hair follicles and estrogen. True, such studies cannot fully provide an accurate answer. It is believed that it is possible to take a sample of brain tissue through a small opening in the skull without damaging the important organ itself. So you can find out the truth about the condition of the skunk without taking his life.
There is no vaccine against rabid skunks. There is documentary evidence that the skunk rabies vaccine is and works 100%. A person gets immunity for a period of one to two years. At the same time, the medicine is not only approved, its action is proven. Such a vaccine really helps in the fight against skunk rabies.
Daytime skunks are a clear sign of rabies. Although skunks are considered nocturnal animals, they can hunt during the day if they need food. But trying to trick the skunks by putting pet food outside the house during the day doesn't work. Perhaps only orphans may appear, who are worried about finding their missing mother. These are the most commonly seen skunks during the day.
You can get rabies from a skunk from getting liquid in your eyes. Transmission of rabies is possible only after an animal bite. Very rarely, it happened when the virus entered through the blood from the brain of a sick animal during its dissection or in the form of a spray from a bullet that hit the head.
Skunk spray can go blind in your eyes. Indeed, there were sometimes cases when animals or people even died due to the spraying of a protective liquid by a skunk. However, the spray itself was not the cause of death, it was just the stress that caused the heart attack. In one case, the dog could not get rid of the fetid liquid that got on him, and in another case, the person had such a heart disease that any stress would lead to tragedy. Blindness is a temporary reaction of the body to corrosive liquid that has got into the eyes.
The skunk spray is actually his urine. The skunk releases a pungent, yellow, oily foamy spray, but it's not urine at all. The fluid comes from a special gland hidden inside the anal area.
Skunks attack each other with a spray. These animals never spray their protective liquid on each other. A slight involuntary discharge in the heat of struggle, games, breeding or injury is possible. However, this passes quickly.
Skunks constantly release their fluid. If these animals are not attacked or threatened by their children, they rarely release a protective fluid. And even before starting their odorous defense, skunks make a few warning signs with their body and tail. The fact is that this spray is a rather valuable substance for the body, which can be consumed only in the most critical situations. In an ideal situation, a skunk does not spray anything at all throughout its life. The fluid reserve in the glands is contained for 5-6 shots and full recovery will take about 10 days.
Skunk cannot spray unless their feet are on the ground. Some gullible people, trusting such a myth, fearlessly take a skunk in their arms. It is also said that an anus covered by a tail or an animal suspended by the tail guarantees safety. In general, people rarely encounter attacks from these animals, trusting such statements. In fact, nothing prevents the animal from doing this with its tail up or down, when it is doing a pawstand, or even being suspended by the tail. It's just that in such an unusual position, the skunk does not always decide to defend.
Skunks are very fragrant. These animals are actually very clean, in fact they smell better than dogs. And the stench comes directly from the secretions sprayed in the case of protection.
Skunks are good at climbing and jumping. Only a spotted skunk can move so energetically. But striped skunks have limited ability to overcome high obstacles. They cannot climb table legs or jump like a wild cat. So do not be afraid that this animal will steal food. His lot is more like garbage cans and a picnic blanket on the ground. Skunk can reach the target with trash bags or benches. And to climb over the fence, he will need a branchy bush or a large pile of building materials. And the fall down can be so strong that the skunk will not be able to rise. So do not be afraid that these animals will sneak into the house through the attic, chimney or roof. If the smell of a skunk appears in the house, then there is a small probability of the animal itself entering directly. Most likely, the particles of liquid were brought by an owl, which at one time killed a skunk.
Skunks kill chickens. These animals cannot chase and catch fast prey such as rats, mice or chickens. The only exceptions are dead, injured or trapped animals or birds. Skunks' lot is eating eggs, slow chicks or babies in their nests.
Skunks are useless creatures. For the balance of nature, skunks are very important. They diminish rodents, spiders, rattlesnakes, scorpions and other garden pests. Their victims are gophers, larvae, cockroaches, snails and crickets.
Skunk is a ferret. For a long time it was believed that this family was part of the weasel, which included, in particular, both ferrets and weasel. However, recent detailed studies have revealed that skunks form their own family and are closer to pandas than to mustelids or raccoons.
Skunks are domestic creatures. It is considered that a creature is domesticated if it has lived near a person for more than three generations. The Indians began to tame skunks. Now many such animals live at home, for which they cut out that very gland. Some breeders have been leading the breed for up to 60 years. However, in nature, skunks are numerous and are not even classified as a protected species.
If a domesticated skunk escapes, it can easily survive there. Only wild mothers teach their young the art of survival in the wild. In addition, pets are usually deprived of their useful gland and will not be able to scare away predators by protecting themselves. So there is practically no chance for such skunks to survive in nature.
If the pet skunk escapes, it will become a distributor of diseases of its wild fellows. Pets do not run the risk of developing rabies, because when breeding they are vaccinated. These skunks are much healthier than their wild counterparts.
Skunks are nocturnal. It would be more accurate to call such a lifestyle twilight. Skunks go hunting before nightfall and early in the morning.
Skunks are widespread. In our area you will not find such animals. Their homeland is America. Striped skunks are found from Costa Rica to southern Canada, spotted skunks from British Columbia to Costa Rica, and pig-nosed skunks from Argentina to the southern United States. And only the smelly badgers, which are also ranked among the skunk family, live on the islands of Indonesia.
Skunks are predators. These creatures are omnivorous and eat not only worms, insects, small vertebrates, but also plants, grains, buds, if necessary. They do not disdain carrion either.
Skunks have no natural enemies. Despite their specific smell, these animals are still pursued by others. The natural enemies of young skunks are foxes, coyotes, lynxes, cougars and badgers. Young individuals are still unfamiliar with the peculiarities of the defense of this beast, therefore they attack it. Of particular danger are birds of prey, whose sense of smell is much worse than that of mammals.
Skunks are active all year round. Animals living in the northern lands hibernate in winter. To do this, they look for a hole or dig it out for themselves. When a ready place is found, the skunk pulls grass and leaves there, forming a nest for itself.
The skunk smell fades away quickly. It is almost impossible to remove liquid that has got on clothes - things have to be burned. People try to fight odor with gasoline, vinegar and even tomato juice, but these folk remedies only mask the smell without removing it. And in dry cleaners, hydrogen peroxide is used to combat it.