There are skunks in Old Alton Bridge Park that seem to prefer the margins between the woods and the open meadows as the place for their morning foraging. Time and again I have found these black and white animals at the forest’s edge.

What has struck me about these encounters is how unaware—or unconcerned—the skunks appear to be. They seem to have a high tolerance for both a clumsy approach and close proximity on my part. Frequently, they just go about their business like they don’t even know I am there. They must be superbly confident in the deterrent potential of their stinky defenses to let their guard down the way they do.

The skunk in this observation is a good case in point. I followed this Striped Skunk around for nearly 45 minutes hoping he would make his way out of the tall grass and into a clearing so that I could take some unobstructed photographs.

Well, he didn’t. He was so busy digging for grubs and pouncing on grasshoppers that he never had an occasion to leave the tall grass. Although I thoroughly enjoyed watching his antics, I was never able to get a clear shot.

Now, it should be noted that part of the problem was that I insisted on keeping a minimum distance of roughly 12ft/4m between us. On several occasions I was sure that if I could only close the gap down to 6ft/2m that a unobstructed view of the skunk would present itself.

The problem was, I could never work up the nerve to get that close.

4 Replies to “Striped Skunk – Camera Shy”

  1. Beautiful animal, but I don’t blame you for keeping your distance! I was just reading an article on urban predators that has studied predation on skunks in, I think, the Chicago area. The researchers found a surprisingly small number of skunks die due to predation, so the lack of concern you detected may be justified. I’ll try to find that article…

    1. Great Horned Owls prey on skunks, and in some places skunks seem to be their most common prey item. They will kill and eat cats, too. Feral cats have niche overlap with skunks, foraging at similar places and at the same times, and taking some of the same prey species.

  2. Chris, the few times I have been threatened by skunks, I have been able to extricate myself from the situation. They do give warning, first stamping their feet and then taking on the posture depicted in your photos of the skunk-possum interaction. But yes, good to keep your distance.

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