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Wanted: Sweet Skunks That Do Sick Stunts
Sep 22, 2021 | Atlas Obscura
Picture - Wanted: Sweet Skunks That Do Sick Stunts

The posters went up all over Texas: Keep an eye out for this spotted rascal, considered armed and extremely odorous, and wanted dead or alive. The fugitive’s mugshot was, quite frankly, adorable.

Meet the charismatic, but sometimes stinky, spotted skunk. While all skunks douse would-be predators with a noxious spray, only the spotted skunk announces its intention to do so in a wholly ostentatious fashion: on its front paws, in a dramatic handstand with its tail skyward. The acrobatic posture makes the spotted skunk appear more than twice its size, potentially discouraging an attack. Spotted skunks can walk in this position and even stamp their front feet to seem intimidating. And if a potential predator still doesn’t get the hint, the skunk will drop back to all fours and spray with remarkable accuracy: They’re able to hit their target from up to 12 feet away.

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