This Striped Skunk has been foraging in the yard every night for the last two weeks. He usually doesn’t begin to forage until full dark, but on this evening he ventured out just after sundown. I wandered over to see if he would submit to a few photos.
A slow approach usually gets me up close to a skunk without it showing any awareness of my presence. This animal appears to be in prime shape.
I prefer yard skunks that show a lot of white. It makes them easier to see in the dark. I usually carry a flashlight while out after dark, but I can easily navigate my yard without light, so I don’t turn it on unless needed. Once, while making a late night visit to the barn, I heard something in the grass at my side and turned on the light to discover an all black skunk hurrying along beside me like a dog at heel. We must have both realized our mistake at the same instant, because I hurried off in one direction and he went in another.
The lawn was full of tasty morsels. The skunk kept nuzzling into the grass and would always come up chewing. I matched the skunk’s slow pace and followed it around the yard.
It suddenly did an about face and began foraging back in my direction. It still acted as if I was not there.
I was trying to back slowly away, but it kept moving faster and was threatening to overtake me. If I had just frozen in place, the skunk would most likely have gone right past me without incident, but I didn’t want to be so close that I couldn’t get clear if the shooting started. Not wanting to spend the evening removing skunk odor, I retreated at a slightly brisker pace.
The more rapid movement got the skunk’s attention and it took off. The slow shutter speed required to take shots in the evening gloaming allowed me to capture only a blur of the running skunk. It never sprayed. Skunks seldom do if they have a clear escape route. Having a skunk claim the yard as part of its territory is a normal occurrence. There’s usually just one and it’s a different skunk every year.