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Dead Skunk in the middle of the road…

February 24, 2013

Today will remembered for the smell of two things: Skunks and De-icer.

The de-over is a quick story, another flight delay due to a long winter and thinking I could get out of Toronto on time on a Friday night. That was the end of the day – or the beginning of the end of the day, I’m not home yet! (3 hours late)

The skunk however was at the beginning of the day about 5 a.m which is about the same hour I previously saw this skunk back in autumn, he or she was checking out the refuse skip at work, I had the good sense delivered to me by Daniel Boone ( as in the TV series) when I was a boy and drove slowly and waited for Said skunk to scarper! No damage to me, no damage to the skunk.

Today was another story, and unfortunately the last one for the skunk.

I was headed for Dulles airport on t he main road  – a dual carriage way not far from where i work – with a car outside and ahead of me to my left. Suddenly from the front of this car appeared a skunk who having chanced his unattractive form once already found itself confronted with an unexpected second vehicle, inside which was a driver who at 5 am regarded this as a somewhat unexpected object and with typical 5am deftness I managed to swerve my SUV in a trajectory away from where the skunk was headed and directly towards where the skunk had decided to head in order to avoid me.

Overall skunks are way bigger than I thought but still no match for an SUV.
I fail to understand why he didn’t do a Rocky Racoon impersonation stand his ground turn butt-ward towards me and just spray away, I’m sure I would have driven into oncoming traffic to avoid him and at least I would have known where he would be.

Mine was slightly more urban - a bit dirty on top - a bit like he'd been changing the oil on Chevy's for much of his life...

Mine was slightly more urban – a bit dirty on top – a bit like he’d been changing the oil on Chevy’s for much of his life…

So what you’re all waiting for, did it smell?

You bet! I am yet to get back to my car at Dulles but I expect it will be easy to find as it will be the one with no other cars near it,in all likelihood it will be in tears both from having to endure the stench and having no friends all day. In fact in hindsight I should have just parked it right out side the departure lounge and nobody would have dared move it.

And how to describe the smell,well it’s the depth and intensity of the smell rather than anything putrid or rotten,if you could imagine a musty cupboard and magnify that 1000times you might come close.

Anyway I’m chalking it up as a relatively unique experience and one that showed how much I have learnt in the last few years. 33 years ago in Australia I ran over a snake, so excited was I I stopped the car opened the boot (trunk) grabbed the snake by its tai l and threw it in – I couldn’t wait to show all my mates back at the house.

Voila ‘here’s my ….empty boot ….um which means somewhere in my car is a rather dazed snake”, suffice to say I left the car parked in the driveway for a few days with the boot and doors open. I never found the snake.

Meantime…My wife tells me she has seen the dead skunk in the middle of the road – so at least I know that staid where my tyre left it!

And to make me feel better, this excerpt from wikipedia (and thanks Wiki – Crepuscular, I have had a few people work for me over the years that are like that ), he couldn’t see me!:

Skunks are crepuscular and solitary animals when not breeding, though in the colder parts of their range, they may gather in communal dens for warmth. During the day, they shelter in burrows they dig with their powerful front claws, or in other man-made or natural hollows as the opportunity arises. Both genders occupy overlapping home ranges through the greater part of the year, typically 2 to 4 km2 (0.77 to 1.5 sq mi) for females, up to 20 km2 (7.7 sq mi) for males.

Skunks are not true hibernators in the winter, but do den up for extended periods of time. However, they remain generally inactive and feed rarely, going through a dormant stage. Over winter, multiple females (as many as 12) huddle together; males often den alone. Often, the same winter den is repeatedly used.

Although they have excellent senses of smell and hearing, vital attributes in a crepuscular omnivore, they have poor vision. They cannot see, with any clarity, objects more than about 3 m (10 ft) away, making them vulnerable to death by road traffic. They are short-lived animals; their lifespans in the wild are no longer than three years, with most living only up to a year.[8][9] In captivity, they may live for up to 10 to 15 years.[8][9]

…. three days later – and I note nobody has moved it – and I can still recognize the smell as i drive by…ewww


From → Weird

  1. Karen permalink

    Good one Richard! Cheers!

  2. lila permalink

    Your spirit animal?

  3. Helen Parkinson permalink

    Having experienced skunk road kill and one that raided the garbage at the house we stayed at in the states I can say it smells similar to a weed we have around home here. Have not been able to identify the weed but it is often quit strong on riverbeds. Off corse nowhere near as strong as skunk.

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