What I learned From Finding Baby Skunks in the Forest
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Disclaimer: do not approach wildlife, particularly if it's with its family. Appreciate nature and don't interfere with it.


In early July, my parents were driving along a forest road on a cold rainy day near Flagstaff, AZ. They stopped suddenly when they saw a small black furry lump on the side of the road. Both got out of the truck and cautiously prodded the thing with a twig. The baby skunk rolled over and grabbed the twig between its tiny bear-like paws. My parents looked around the area for signs of its family and when they found nothing, they picked it up and brought it back to our campsite and RV.


When my dad woke me up from a sickness-induced nap, I screamed and startled the baby skunk before realizing that it was completely harmless. It didn't resist being held and would fall asleep wherever it could. We went into Flagstaff to buy it some formula to put into a syringe after intensely googling what to do. After being fed, we let it fall asleep in a cat carrier lined with rags. On the way back to our RV, we searched the area where we found the baby and saw another. We set the first skunk on the ground and it ran to its sibling and began wrestling with it, making little chattering noises. Against all odds, we had found a male and female baby skunk who were likely orphaned. We checked back in and around the area every few hours to make sure their mother wasn't looking for them. We never found anything.


For the brief day that we kept the skunks, we joked about carrying it to grocery stores and frightening people with it, or inviting people over and not telling them about our "pet skunks." We played with them as they bounced around the forest underbrush of our campsite, and they followed us as we walked. They fell asleep in our laps and arms after hours of playing. We became their temporary family.


It should be noted that skunks do not develop their scent glands that make the famous skunk stench until they are three months old. These skunks only smelled like wet puppies. It seems unfair that people should be frightened of an animal that was so docile and playful. As is the case with many animals, society absurdly demonizes animals that are simply defending themselves in their own environments. Skunks are no different. Though it's illegal in my own state, people elsewhere choose to keep skunks as pets. I myself have never thought of skunks as being anything but elusive stinky nuisances, but ever since we gave these babies to a wildlife foster home, I have missed them. This experience has shown me that there is beauty even in the most unlikely creatures, and they all deserve respect.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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