Monday, December 8, 2014

Skunk "hikes" egg

You can probably file the following video under strange things almost no one ever gets to see.

The beloved Striped Skunk, those handsome if not occasionally malodorous black and white beasts, are well known for their digging propensities. If skunks are about, and hungry, it is common to see the aftermath of their hunting: small divots pawed into the ground where the animals have dug out tasty beetle grubs or other fare.

But a skunk is not a one-trick pony when it comes to feeding skills. They'll take about anything they can find, and that includes eggs. If, for instance, a skunk stumbles into a turkey nest, it'll likely grab the eggs, or at least one of them.

However, a skunk with fresh egg soon finds itself with a dilemma. How does a four-pawed animal crack the shell. View on...

video
Video by Laura and Dave Hughes

The Hughes - David and Laura - consistently outdo themselves in capturing outstanding trail cam videography. I've featured their work here many times; type "Hughes" into the blog's search box in the upper left corner of the page and you'll find plenty of examples.

In this case, they've left some old guinea fowl eggs along the game trail, to see what might take the bait. A skunk ambles along, seizes an egg, and begins playing the part of an NFL center with it. This is apparently a known behavior for Striped Skunks - hurling hard-shelled food backwards between their legs. The animal would normally fling the item into a path of great resistance, such as a rock or tree trunk, in an effort to smash the object open. The subject of this film doesn't have a good smashing surface close at hand, but that doesn't stop it from hiking its egg.

BONUS: A Virginia Opossum enters the scene towards the video's end, and almost gets whacked by one of the skunk's errant egg hikes.

Great stuff, and thanks to Laura for sending along the video and allowing me to share.

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2 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Darn, the video stopped just as the skunk hiked toward the opossum. I wonder if the opossum thought the skunk was sharing with it.

LN in OH said...

I have to say how much I absolutely enjoy every one of your posts---thank you for sharing your boundless curiosity and wonderful prose and photography with the rest of us amateur naturalists! That skunk just cracked me up, and the opossum was a great bonus :)