Friday, April 17, 2009

Arboreal skunks and other surprises

Three things blew my mind while watching "Is that Skunk?" on the PBS program Nature.
  1. Spotted skunks (Spilogale spp.) commonly climb trees to forage and hide.
  2. Skunks are not members of family Mustelidae, the weasels, as was long thought. Apparently skunks compose their own family, Mephitidae.
  3. Skunk spray is highly flammable. Significantly, this was reported by an organic chemist rather than a field researcher.
Bonus: "For these orphaned skunks, Jerry is acting in loco parentis. However, many would call him just plain loco." Oh, Omniscient PBS Narrator, you're so clever.

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