Saturday, September 1, 2012


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.


  1. There you go Steve. Introduce him/her to the fallen logs with the perfect hollows now. I bet they already know about it.


  2. He is a very pretty animal, but I doubt I would have gotten that close. I would have used a longer zoom. ;)

  3. What a fantastic post! I think skunks are so cool looking, and most of us don't realize that because, obviously, we don't want to risk getting up close and personal. I really enjoyed this post!

  4. What a great encounter and I am glad you were none the worse for it. I have never seen a skunk up close like this, but I smell them on a regular basis throughout the year. Pretty animals! I thought I saw one the other day but it turned out to be a black squirrel, the first one I have ever seen in my area, seen anywhere for that matter.

  5. gorgeous! lots of white on that type! beautiful!

  6. What a beautiful animal! YOu did a good job following him with the camera. He could easily be mistaken in the dark for one of my black and white cats.

  7. We see them often in our yard and sometimes up on the patio late at night. You got some great shots. As long as that tail stays down life is good.

  8. THey are very pretty!

    Visiting from Camera Critters.
    Pets & Critters Nook

  9. I have never seen a skunk yet, thanks for sharing.

    Hopping by from Camera Critters.
    Flowers and Butterfly

  10. Thanks Kevin. Maybe on my next walk I’ll carry the skunk along and leave it in the log.

    Hi Lois. It was too dark to zoom, so I just had to get close.

    Thanks Misty.

    Hi Denise. Black Squirrels are also neat. I haven’t seen any near here.

    Hi Pat. You’re right, he’s just cat size.

    Hi Judy. There have been times that I’ve opened the back door and found a skunk on the doorstep. I just close up really fast and wait for it to wander away.

    Hi Rose. They are pretty animals.

  11. We used to live in the suburbs of Los Angeles, but near a park. Skunks regularly came around our house, so you had to be careful not to disturb them. One night, a skunk came in the kitty door. We just left, and fortunately he decided to leave on his own with no bad events. After that, no more kitty door. - Margy

  12. That is a beautiful skunk. I must say I prefer to view them running away. When turn their defensive stance into an offensive one the real trouble starts. We just had a skunk dig out the nest of ground bees that stung Ed repeatedly. Sometimes it's nice to have a skunk around.

  13. Hi Margy. I'm glad your skunk visitor didn't cause any trouble. I've known Raccoons to come in through pet doors. They don't leave any odor, but they are more aggressive at digging out food items in the kitchen.

    Hi Becky. I've watched skunks dig out those ground nests. They certainly don't seem to be affected by bee stings.

  14. Hi Theresa. I just found your comment in the spam box and gave it the OK to show here. I don't know why it ended up as spam.