What makes skunks' spray smell so terrible? A family of baby skunks in a hollow log. (Thinkstock)
What makes skunks' spray smell so terrible?
Lexile

You asked us a question. 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. They are like the ones that make rotten eggs so nasty. Second, these compounds are mixed with other ultra-sticky chemicals. They make the smell a nightmare to get rid of.
 
And then there's the delivery system for these chemical weapons. It's a thing of beauty, if not a joy forever. Skunks have little nipple squirters. There is one on each side of their rear ends. And each 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. They'll only spray if threatened or cornered.

Also, they're veracious eaters of bugs and mice. They're actually pest exterminators themselves.
 
And finally, there's this - baby skunks!

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


COMMENTS (57)
  • awells21-ing
    5/05/2016 - 10:18 a.m.

    Well now I know why skunks smell is nasty and smell bad and they aim of the eyes because the smell can give tears to your eyes

    • skylard-jen
      9/01/2016 - 11:13 a.m.

      That is really true good job.

  • sarahj-bel
    5/05/2016 - 02:01 p.m.

    Skunks aim for the eyes is because so then they wont be able to see and the skunk spray is a horriable smell.

  • silverc-bel
    5/05/2016 - 02:02 p.m.

    The skunks aim for the eyes because they want you to feel your eyes burning and make you go away.

  • rachela-bel
    5/05/2016 - 02:03 p.m.

    Skunks aim for the eyes because they can make the eyes hert and escape

  • jolenec-bel
    5/05/2016 - 02:06 p.m.

    The skunks aim for their eyes because that is the worst spot on them and if they get in their eyes they will run off and the skunks will be safe again.

  • stephenn-coo
    5/11/2016 - 08:49 a.m.

    Skunks aim for the eyes because if it hits or eyes it will be like tear gas.

  • camerons1-wes
    5/12/2016 - 09:06 a.m.

    Skunks aim for the eyes because it has the same effect as tear gas and it can make you throw up

  • darianv-3-bar
    5/12/2016 - 07:49 p.m.

    skunks aim for the eyes because their spray has about thew same effect as tear gas. "And skunks aim for the eyes. A good blast of skunk has pretty much the same effect as tear gas." I like this article because now I know why skunks spray"

  • jennas-kut
    5/15/2016 - 09:19 p.m.

    I learned that skunks have two sprayers and spray at your eyes as a defense. Also the article answered my questions about why the smells does not go away quickly.

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