Tag Archives: Houghton Mifflin

Illustration of skunk from John Burroughs’ “Squirrels and Other Fur-Bearers,” 1909

Houghton Mifflin Company.

There is one baby skunk who regularly crosses the street just after nightfall between one neighbor’s yard and the one opposite.  I keep trying to get decent pictures or video when I spot him (from a discreet distance, of course).  But no luck — my phone camera just doesn’t do terribly well in the dark.  Hence the illustration below.

As you know if you’ve ever seen one, skunk look like shaggy, very unkempt cats.  (The correct plural here is indeed “skunk,” although either “skunk” or “skunks” is acceptable; I checked.)  They don’t move terribly quickly either — I guess speed wasn’t something they had to evolve, given their well known method of pushing back at trouble.

I thought of warning my neighbors that their yard is a thoroughfare for skunk, because that seems like a good thing to know.  But that sounds too much like an insult, and these people have guns.

I’m also not sure why Burroughs’ illustration below appears to show baby skunk inside of a vast hornets nest, because I’m reasonably sure that’s now how it works with skunk.  Although I’m admittedly no naturalist, so who knows?

[Update 10:30 PM: Now there is a skunk in my backyard!!]