What makes skunks' spray smell so terrible?
What makes skunks' spray smell so terrible? A family of baby skunks in a hollow log. (Thinkstock)
What makes skunks' spray smell so terrible?
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You asked us, what makes skunks spray smell so terrible?
 
The skunk's smelly armory is a horrific wonder of nature. First off, the main chemical weapons are sulfur-based compounds like the ones that make rotten eggs and flatulence so nasty. Second, these compounds are mixed with other ultra-sticky chemicals, which means the smell is a nightmare to get rid of.
 
And then there's the delivery system for these chemical weapons, a thing of beauty, if not a joy forever. Skunks have little nipple squirters, one on each side of their rear ends that can rotate independently like an anti-aircraft weapon. I'm not kidding.
 
Even scarier, these weapons are accurate up to 10 feet and skunks aim for the eyes. A good blast of skunk has pretty much the same effect as tear gas. And aside from sending you staggering around clutching your eyes and screaming, it can even make you throw up.

Before you call the exterminator to get Pepe Le Pew out of your backyard, consider this: skunks are shy, mild-mannered creatures and they'll only spray if threatened or cornered.
 
Also, they're veracious eaters of bugs and mice, so they're actually pest exterminators themselves.
 
And finally, there's this - baby skunks!

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/what-makes-skunks-spray-smell-so-terrible/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why do skunks aim for the eyes?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (33)
  • austinh-ver
    5/09/2016 - 08:31 a.m.

    It is more effective and it is a sensitive area.

  • destenyn-nic
    5/10/2016 - 12:47 p.m.

    Skunks aim for the eyes because their spray works like tear gas. It even make you throw up! I honestly had no clue that they aimed for the eyes, so it was cool learning something new.

  • alexf-coo
    5/11/2016 - 10:27 a.m.

    Skunks spray for the eyes because they know that their spray is painful. They run off while the animal or person is blinded.

  • ericw-6-bar
    5/12/2016 - 06:48 p.m.

    Skunks aim for the eyes of a predator because without their vision they could not possibly harm the skunk. Bigger predators that have more immunity to bad smells could shake off the stench but can not shake off the fact they cannot see if they get sprayed in the eyes.

  • luket-4-bar
    5/12/2016 - 11:28 p.m.

    The skunks aim for the eyes because "A good blast of skunk has pretty much the same effect as tear gas.". Taking something like that to the eyes would leave any predator blinded and in pain. This is smart for the skunks to do because when they spray a predator in the eyes they will be easily able to escape.
    I thought this article was interesting because I never understood what the big deal about skunk spray is, but now I know.

  • libbys-4-bar
    5/13/2016 - 02:13 a.m.

    "A good blast of skunk has pretty much the same effect as tear gas." The skunk aims for the eyes because it harms or hurts the predator going after the skunk. I liked this topic cause I didn't know that the eyes was the main place for the skunks to spray.

  • jackw-4-bar
    5/13/2016 - 10:54 a.m.

    Skunks aim for the eyes because, "a good blast of skunk is pretty much the same effect as tear gas." It can also make you throw up. This article surprised me because I thought skunks just sprayed at you but not directly at your eyes. It is interesting how they even know where human eyes are.

  • nicholasl-2-bar
    6/08/2016 - 10:06 p.m.

    Skunks aim for the eyes to blind predators. If a predator is trying to attack the skunk, getting rid of its eyesight will make it easier for the skunk to get away. It also hurts the predator which makes it not likely to attack again. I liked this article because it was about skunks. I was surprised that skunks spray out of their nipples.

  • Steve0620-yyca
    6/14/2016 - 02:46 p.m.

    I didn't know that skunk sprays have sulfur-based compounds. It is also mixed with sticky chemicals so it makes it hard to get rid of. There have been many ways to try and get the smell off like by rubbing tomato sauce on themselves. Skunks have nipple squirters on each side of their rear ends which shoot the spray. These squirters can turn freely and has great aim. It can go up to ten feet. Skunks aim for the eyes when they shoot the spray. Skunks don't shoot the spray at anybody but shoot it when they are scared. Skunks also eat insects so it can be helpful to keep them around.
    I think that skunks aim for the eyes so that if they are being threatened, they have more time to run away. If a predator or human is hit in the eye with skunk spray, they will struggle and shut their eyes to make sure the spray doesn't go in their eye.

  • vemaurionp-orv
    8/31/2016 - 02:49 p.m.

    I think that the reason that they aim for the eyes is that it is like the natural version of tear gas.

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