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Ron Lutz II | all galleries >> Confessions of a Photophile…™ >> Photo a Day for a Year - 2003-2004 >> March 2004 > 03-21-2004
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21-MAR-2004 Ron Lutz II


Sarver, PA

I had to work at the museum this Sunday so my original shot of the day was going to be this image I thought captured just how I felt about the heavy snow we were getting on the 2nd day of Spring.

As I commuted to the place up north of the city, I spotted movement in a yard and a dark profile. “Skunk” registered in my brain and I drove about another quarter mile before turning the car around. I parked in the adjacent driveway to the home where this little stinker was and carefully approached. It was so inent on foraging for roots or what ever that it completely ignored me. I got as close as I dared, knowing these guys can nail you form a distance. I also know that they only spray if they feel threatened. There was one split second, as I tried to get past the 15’ (4.5m) distance that it did a quick little jump and arch it’s back and tail. I didn’t come closer after all….LOL

This is the American Skunk, Mephitis mephitis. Note the burs in his bushy tail…I wasn’t about to help it get them out.

Canon EOS 10D ,Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
1/250s f/3.5 at 200.0mm iso400 full exif

other sizes: small medium original auto
Ashley Hockenberry05-Oct-2006 20:28
Great shot !!
Guest 26-Mar-2004 02:23
Nice shot. I have come to the conculsion that skunks are generally very reluctant to use their primary weapon. I have come very close to skunks on several occasions, one night when my family was camping one walked over my foot to get a scrap of food. It seemed a very nice animal. The only time I thought the area was going to get sprayed was when the skunk was finally leaving and it crossed paths with a woman camping nearby and she started screaming for all she was worth and even then it just changed direction and left.
PS I also have a skunk shot on pbase.
brother_mark24-Mar-2004 04:26
I don't think you're crazy to get so close to a skunk. I was eating dinner at a campsite along the California coast one time when a skunk just walked right by. Not more than 10 feet away. I just said, "keep going, keep going." I was more concerned about the bear I didn't see and the Roosevelt elk that had charged my car. Looks like he's hissing at you.
Ron Lutz II23-Mar-2004 13:56
When a skunk is threatened, it will turn its hindquarters towards the threat, lift it's tail and spray a stream of extremely smelly fluid. The fluid comes from two large glands at the base of the tail. The smell is very, very strong and nasty. It also doesn't come off very easily. If I had been sprayed I do not know what I would have done. It would have ruined the car had I tried to get in and drive home...LOL
Guest 23-Mar-2004 03:01
Do they really smell bad or is it vicious?
Guest 23-Mar-2004 00:33
DUDE...NICE! You are silly...I too have been known to stop the car and turn around, then crawl in the dirt just to get a shot. lol Love it!
Geoff Delderfield Photography22-Mar-2004 21:46
Great shot Ron.
Guest 22-Mar-2004 19:42
Great shot! I really like this one. This photo should go well as a postcard, a very nice pic.
Guest 22-Mar-2004 16:09
Very nice picture. I'd never have the guts to get that close to it hahaha
Ron Lutz II22-Mar-2004 15:56
LOL. While I was shooting this I kept imagining all the people passing by in their cars saying, "Will you look at that idiot..." Also, I shot this about 30 miles north of the city, around here that is rural. ;-) Pittsburgh's not that big.
Guest 22-Mar-2004 15:39
More urban wild life! I love it!
virginiacoastline22-Mar-2004 15:11
Brave (or stoopid??) of you to try to get so close . . nice picture tho =)
My brother had one as a pet for a looong time (don't recall how he caught it) but he had it de-skunked & it was quite a funny & tame pet for many years. He called it Thumper cuz that's what it would do to get his attn or to let him know he didn't like what was going on. he would walk it on a leash just like others walked dogs
Guest 22-Mar-2004 14:49
Nice kitty! ;-)
Guest 22-Mar-2004 14:41
Wow! Well done on getting as close as you did - very brave of you! Love this shot, too!
Jeff Gegner22-Mar-2004 14:41
This is not an easy shot. They are usually rather reclusive. It seems they don't like the way humans smell :)
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