The skunk commands respect from humans and would-be predators alike, who give it a wide berth. It's distinctive fur, with black and white stripes along the back and over the skull, is enough to warn others to keep their distance. And for good reason, or else.
The skunk is associated with self-respect. It meanders along at its own pace exuding self-assurance, but it can't see clearly beyond three meters, which makes it an all too common road kill. In fact, skunks in the wild rarely live beyond three years. Domestic pet skunks, when spayed or nuetered and innoculated, can live 12 to 15 years, with some reaching the ripe old age of 20 years.
There are several different species of skunk, the most common being the striped skunk, but it is the spotted variety that entertains its audience by doing a handstand and then firing over its own head. All skunk species are solitary creatures, although females sometimes like to form communal dens to protect their young. They forage for food during the twilight hours, and although they don't hoard food themselves, they're not above sneaking off with the weasel's hard-earned stash. Otherwise, they lie in wait or slowly stalk their prey, since they're not too fast on their feet. Fruit, insects, reptiles and small mammals comprise much of their diet.
See also: Animal Tattoo Index.