Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

April 13, 2014

OUTDOOR COLUMN: All you ever wanted to know about those darned skunks

(Continued)

It moves unhurriedly, except when it pounces on a mouse or large insect. It appears completely unafraid, which is unfortunate sometimes when it crosses a road.

A skunk’s den is a hole in the ground that it digs, a woodchuck’s hole that it appropriates, a hollow log or a crevice among rocks. It will also move into the space beneath a barn or other building, which is often unfortunate for people, dogs and chickens.

A skunk’s den is its sleeping chamber. There, it spends most of its days, though it is not completely nocturnal. It will go rambling occasionally during the day. There, in its den, a skunk also spends much of the winter, sleeping soundly. But it does not hibernate. Its body temperature and functions do not drop or slow greatly during the winter, and it occasionally wakes and goes wandering when snow covers the ground. (I have never heard or read who or how somebody determined that a skunk’s body temperature and functions do not decrease during the winter.)

Mating is in the fall and a female skunk’s den is the place where she gives birth to her young late in the winter or early in spring. A male skunk has nothing to do with the family. He mates, then goes on his way. If he sees his offspring, it’s by accident, in the spring or summer when his path happens to cross theirs as they follow the female, single file, as she teaches them to catch grasshoppers, grubs and mice.

Little skunks must also learn how to use their liquid weapons. To spray, a skunk must stand on its front feet, raise its tail above its back and turn its belly and its spray guns in the direction it wants to spray. A skunk with all four feet on the ground is a stream-lined kitty with a fluid drive that is no threat.

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Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
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