What is there to know about skunks?

What is there to know about skunks? Aside from their one offensive 
characteristic, skunks are animals, just like any other animal. The only
 animal that regularly puts the skunk on their menu is the Great Horned 
Owl (owls can’t smell). Skunks mate in the spring, just like most 
animals. Males are polygamous, meaning they mate with more than one 
female. One interesting note about the mating period is that this is the
 only time that skunks spray each other. The males will spray each other
 over disputes about mating rites. Sixty-six days after mating, between 4
 and 7 kits are born. If you’ve never seen a baby skunk, you’re missing 
out. They’re about the cuddliest-looking things I’ve ever seen! Just 
don’t get too close, because Mamma Skunk is very protective of her 
babies, and will spray anything that she perceives as a threat to them. 
Daddy Skunk offers no help in raising the babies. After mating, he goes 
back to his territory. During the winter, skunks sometimes go through a 
relatively dormant period, although they don’t hibernate. The females 
will, however, sometimes den up together for warmth. Males don’t really 
do this.

 The most interesting thing about skunks,in my humble 
opinion, is their diet. Skunks are omnivores, meaning they’ll eat just 
about anything from snakes to berries. A little-known fact about them is
 that they are excellent mousers. The Indians knew this, and reportedly 
kept skunks as pets to protect their food stores from rodents (the 
Indians also reportedly were the first to perfect removing the scent 
glands). Another fascinating fact about their diets is that they are the
 primary predator of bees. They scratch at the opening of the hive, and 
eat the bees as they come out to investigate. The odd thing about this 
is that they get stung. Scientists have shown by dissecting skunks that 
they get stung on the inside of their mouths, and in their esophagus.  
Skunks are apparently as problematic for beekeepers as grasshoppers are 
for farmers (skunks, by the way, eat grasshoppers). Because of their 
diet, skunks should be the farmer’s best friend (except for the fact 
that most farmers have dogs, and we all know how dog-skunk encounters 
invariably end).

 Historically, skunk oil was used for medicinal 
purposes. Skunk oil is an oil that is removed from the fatty tissue 
along the skunk’s back. Native Americans used it, and introduced it to 
the European explorers. It has moisturizing properties. Some Indians 
used it to cure poison ivy. It’s most common medicinal use, though, was 
to treat coughs. Like any liniment, it has a mildly warming reaction, 
which supposedly opens the airways, curing the cough.

 If skunks were to fall off the face of the Earth 
tomorrow, yes, the world would survive. It would just be a little less 

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