Do skunks fight each other?
So two skunks meet in the woods ? No, this is not the beginning to a really bad joke. This is a question that some want to know. Do skunks fight each other?
Most of us are aware of what happens when two skunks come in contact with another animal. They will do what they can to protect themselves, and so they will use the spray that is in their anal glands to scare away predators. This spray not only smells horrific, but has a variety of chemicals that irritate the lungs and eyes, making it difficult to both see and breathe. It is a very effective tool that can make it quite easy for a skunk to get away from virtually any other animal.
But what happens when two skunks come across each other? These are solitary animals, which only really come together when they are involved in mating. However, when mating season is not going on, they wish to stay away from each other as much as possible. This is especially true of two males. They can be quite territorial, so coming across one another will not be a pleasant experience.
How do they fight? Clearly, one is not going to spray the other and get it to run away. Neither is susceptible to the effects of that anal spray so that is a useless choice. So how do they fight?
The truth is that fighting is the last thing that these two want to do. They will do a whole lot more to try to scare each other off before actually going to blows. This begins with a series of vocalizations that are meant to scare each other away. If that does not work then they will start with some ritualistic pounding on the ground with their paws trying to scare one another.
The skunks want to do all they can to avoid fighting and so trying to scare one another is their first course of action. It is only after that fails that they will come to blows. This usually involves the two scratching and clawing at one another. There will be a lot of rolling around as the two will battle. At several points during the confrontation you can be sure that the two will use their vocalizations to continue to get the other one to go away.
This fight will only end when one skunk decides to run off. It is very rare for one skunk to kill another. The one that is losing will usually run away long before it comes to that point, so there will only usually be a very limited amount of blood shed. They will fight, but clearly neither one of them wants to do this.
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