Many animal spring babies are off on their own now. That includes a young skunk now staking out the barn area as home base.
In spite of their reputations, skunks are not really interested in attacking anyone. This young one is rather nervous.
I first came across this particular one on my way to milk one evening. It was after dark and my flashlight batteries were starting to dim. There was movement along the road.
The skunk stood motionless assessing the situation and blinded by the light. It stomped its front feet. This is not a good sign.
Skunks are common around the area. They move in for a time. They move on. Occasionally they discover I put milk down for the cats as I milk and come in to drink it. They have a different lap sound from the cats, more of a smack, smack, smack. I say something. They look up with a startled expression and depart hastily. One was a repeat offender and ignored me in a night or two. It left after the milk was gone.
That night I backed off. The skunk relaxed. I sidled by on the other side of the road.
The next afternoon I let the chickens out to forage for a couple of hours. They have adjusted to the short times out well. The foxes seem to be ignoring them.
The flood of chickens rolled out across the grass, came to a screeching halt and retreated. My pullets complained loudly to me about the invader in their section of grass.
The skunk was busy foraging. It feeds on worms and grubs it digs up. Armadillos may dig bigger holes, but skunks leave a lumpy path behind too. However, an armadillo races off once it spots you. A skunk dares you to do something.
I moved in with the camera. The skunk looked up, arched its tail, seemed almost to shrug and went back to foraging.
The chickens gave it a wide berth that day. After a few days, they now ignore the young skunk as it ignores them.
Skunks appear in “Exploring the Ozark Hills.”