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Cute Encounter

Cute Encounter
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-07-12
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Canon 5d Mark II, Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/160 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2011-07-30 16:52
Viewed: 3590
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Recently I had a funny encounter with a young Stripped Skunk. It was late in the day when I saw the grass moving so I watched as it move one way then the other in the tall grass. I then approached cautiously not knowing what it could be then suddenly I was face to face with this young skunk, then just as quickly I was face to butt with the tiny one. It took quite awhile to get in front of it again so I could get a photo of his face. It was almost like we were dancing.

Striped Skunk
Mephitis mephitis

General Description

By Gustave J. Yaki

Until recently, all skunks were classified as members of the Family Mustelidae, the Weasels and Their Allies. That decision has been overturned; they have now been placed in a family of their own. Unlike most members of the Weasel Family which are long, lithe and quick; the skunk is short, chunky and slow-moving and with a long, bushy tail.

Skunks are best known for their ability to spray a vile-smelling musk, called mercaptan, from their anal glands in order to defend themtselves. They are reluctant to do so unless their life is at stake, as when about to be attacked by a predator or run over by an automobile. They can spray with great accuracy, which can be felt five metres away. The spray may induce nausea in some creatures, and results in intense burning of the eyes, causing excessive tear flow, thus temporary blindness, allowing the skunk to amble off to continue its activities.

Average measurements of a male skunk are: length - 570mm (23 in), of which the bushy tail is 224 mm (9 in) long. Weight: 1.66 kg (3.65 lb). Females are about 15 per cent smaller.

They possess a long, lustrous, black coat, ornamented with a narrow white stripe between the eyes, dividing into two broad white stripes at the back of the head, running along the sides to the base of the tail. Usually there are some white hairs in the tail which sometimes ends in a white tuft.

Skunks, which mostly forage at night, are omnivorous in their diet. This consists mostly of wild fruit, nuts, small mammals, insects, grass, leaves, buds and carrion. Occassionally they eat bird's eggs and nestlings, molluscs, crayfish, minnows, frogs, snakes and lizards. During the spring and summer months, 43 per cent of their diet is insects, mostly grasshoppers and white grubs which they readily excavate from grassy areas such as lawns.

They range across the southern half of Canada, including all of Alberta, but not Newfoundland. Striped Skunks were introduced into Prince Edward Island as fur-bearers, being released or permitted to escape after the fur market declined in the early 1900s. They also occur throughout most of the USA and into northern Mexico.

Striped Skunks are most numerous in agricultural areas, where a population of 13.5 per square mile has been recorded. They also live in forests and river valleys, and enter cities such as Calgary, even to the inner core -- for the most part undetected until run over by a vehicle or molested by a wandering dog. There they usually seek shelter under buildings, decks or in wood-piles. In the wild, they often usurp the den of Cottontail Rabbits or large rodents such as the Woodchuck, but will occasionally excavate their own.

In mid-October, they start to accummulate leaves and dried grasses, building a bulky nest for their winter bed, usually underground. At the same time, they are building up a fat deposit (up to 30 per cent of their normal summer weight), before going into an apparent 'hibernation' during the first cold spell of early December. They usually den communally, with up to a dozen individuals, mostly females with their young. Adult females and young do not reappear until the the end of March, but adult males may be found wandering abroad during mild spells throughout the winter.

The sexes are together only during the female's three day oestrous period in late February or early March. She then drives him off, and being polygamous, he then seeks another female. Sixty-two days later, the average of five or six young are born, blind, deaf and wrinkled, in their mother's den. They are sparsely covered with short, fine fur, clearly outlining their future black-and-white pattern. At three weeks, they are fully furred, begin to crawl about and their eyes start to open. Totally weaned at six to seven weeks, they follow their mother on her foraging during the summer and autumn, retiring with her to her den to sleep away their first winter.
from Weaselhead.org

meyerd, aruntp, bungbing, Pitoncle, jaycee has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hard to believe something this cute could do you a smell. LOL TFS Trevor

Hello Rick,
What a wonderful photography.
It is soo cute.
Excellent timing and composition.
Good details.
Well done.


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2011-07-31 0:24]

Beautiful!!How is tender and nice,a very rare animal on TN.You was lucky to meet it! Mangificent pic whit great quality of sharpness and colors in a difficult light and position,very well done,have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

Hi Rick,
i admire your gallery of wild animals. This skunk is really neat. How you dared to get that close ...It is of course to our benefit on TN that you approached the animal, risking your clothes and the friendship of neighbours ... :-). Thanks for this one, Rick.

I would be hard pressed to present wildlife shots of Bears and Wolves from Switzerland. The moment such an animal adventures into our country there will be someone complaining about it and the loss of money. The animal will then be shot or driven out. That is the country of the "Berne convention for the preservation of wildlife and habitats in Europe"...

My best regards

wonderful creature. good colors and great background. i love that species. tfs.

Hello Ricki,
Very nice shot of this Skunk in his natural habitat, great details sharpness, lovely eye-contact and beautiful natural colours,
Thanks for sharing and have a great Sunday,
Best Regards,

Another interesting animal of Canada and another excellent photo from you Rick!Very good timing and composition. wonderful colours and impressive sharpness.

Bonjour Rick,
Très belle valorisation du sujet dans son environnement sous une excellente profondeur de champ.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2011-07-31 13:22]

Hi Rick,

Dancing with a skunk - that must be a Rick thing! You always have a way with animals. He's adorable - love the face, eyes, and tail. He looks so cute peeking out from the grass and flowers. You captured him beautifully with amazing clarity, colors and composition.


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-08-20 20:06]

Hello Rick,
such a special shot with excellent view and colors. The wilderness is well depicted and its surrounding really enhance the composition.
Really like the view and this represents a lively style of wild nature shot.


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