Is That Skunk?

We find them in the evening digging through our garbage, hiding under our houses, or walking through our yards, streets, and parks. Skunks seem perfectly adapted to life around us. But we are less comfortable around them, for fear of their potent spray. As we expand our urban areas, many skunks find themselves increasingly unwelcome neighbors. It seems everyone has their own skunk story. But what do we really know about these infamous black and white creatures?

Watch as a California town overrun with skunks deals with their furry problem, and see what life is like for an evolutionary biologist in New Mexico who runs one of the few sanctuaries for skunks. Meet a researcher on the sandy shores of Martha’s Vineyard who stalks her striped specimens at night, and a woman in Ohio who runs a shelter and adoption agency for abandoned pet skunks. Is That Skunk? paints a complete portrait of the misunderstood skunk family, Mephitidae, and the people who love them.

To order a copy of Is That Skunk? please visit the NATURE Shop.

Online content for Is That Skunk? was originally posted January 2009.

Photo credit: Cici Clark / © WNET.ORG

  • bonnie sanford

    I love nature and your program in great :) However, my comment is more. It is really more about the photographer- I am from San Jose, CA – and went to School w/a CiCi Clark and wondered if by some strange, great act, Ms Clark of PBS and the gal from Almaden Valley Castillero Jr Hi,are one in the same?!!? you have my email and Bonnie Fredlund is my maiden and still legal name :) thank you for you help. Happiest of all holidays to all PBS oxo, bon I had my email incorrect so, here is my note, again. thanx

  • Nancy

    I can’t wait to see this special on these wonderful misunderstood animals!! Thank you for doing this special

  • Shelley

    My daughter and I can’t wait to see it! She’s a true animal lover. And we were lucky enough to participate in some public training here in Ohio! Thanks, Deborah for the informative lesson!

  • Cody Hildebrand ( Wild Brother Animal Behavior Study)

    This is very good news for skunks, and the dedicated people who have worked so hard to have this gentle , well deserving animal recognized. It is our hope that this special (first program, intirly on skunks) will herald the coming of more of the same. We sincerly hope that people will find out every thing they ever wanted to know about the skunk, but were afraid to take a good wiff to find out. You will never look at skunks in the same way again.

  • Paul R. Wade

    I am just elated to see a program on this wonderful, so many times misunderstood animal. The majority of people who own skunks as a pet adore them. They are this country’s first pets, as the Indians kept them as pets. Our domestic skunks have their odor glands removed at about 3 weeks of age and have no odor after that. They return the love we show them and become so important in the lives of those people who have adopted one that many people claim the skunk they have is by far and away the best pet they have ever had. I can’t wait to see this program. Thank you so much for putting it on.

  • Lynnda Butler

    As president of Skunks As Pets, Inc. Florida I am hoping this will show skunks in the good light as wonderful little creatures. Domestically raised striped skunks are wonderful pets but are not for everyone. Patience, Understanding and knowledge will give them a long healthy life. Thank you Dr. Dragoo for all your years of research.

  • Deborah Cipriani

    Deborah Cipriani
    President, Founder, Owner of Skunk Haven Inc.
    This documentary will show people the better side of both wild and domestic skunks .
    People never knew our domestic skunks come in various of colors such as, lavenders, Champagnes, apricots, albinos, shades of browns, grays and list goes on and on.
    Our fur kids sleep in bed with us and roam through the home like a cat or dog. Domestic skunks like any pet are not for everyone, much research should be done before one coming into your home. Please look over for everything you want to know about skunks.
    Pass the word to everyone to watch this spectacular filming of the skunks we love so much! We are hoping the more people that watch “Is That Skunk” would provide high ratings so this “Skunk” Series of NATURE would be one of the most popular. It’s finally time some one recognizes our skunks in a positive way.
    Thank you for filming our skunks!!!!

  • Malcolm Becker

    I lived in a house full of them. They are really wonderful misunderstood animals! “Skunky Delight”

  • Lex Moua

    i love watching “Nature.” (coming from a high school student, lol) Learning about creatures, common and rare, fills a thirst for knowledge within me and just make’s me want to watch more and know more. Like these things on the common skunk, or that one about the bears, or the one about the squirrels. thank you guys for producing this series. even if only a select few of my age group watch.

  • Ace

    Thanks to Deb and all those wonderful committed people who really care about skunks, I have come to know skunks as fine, noble and beautiful critters with unique personalities unlike any other animal I have ever known. Visiting Deb’s skunk haven, and seeing how dedicated she and Kevin are to the skunkies, and meeting their wonderful skunks, was for me an exceptional experience, and even though I live 600 miles away, I’m looking forward to visiting again.
    I hope this program opens the eyes of people who don’t have a CLUE about the real nature of skunks. I will definitely pass this programming info on to the folks I work with, and to my friends as well!!

  • Mary Cummins

    I can’t wait to watch this show. Deborah Cipriani is great.
    ~A fellow skunk rehabber in Los Angeles, California

  • Holly

    We are counting down the minutes till the show – thank you for taking the time to let people know the place a skunk has in the eco-system – they are important in so many ways
    Many people see them as pests that carry rabies – it is so unfortunate they must live under this dark cloud of mis-understanding-
    I could not be happy without my skunks – they are the center of my family life and nothing is better after a long day at work than a skunk snuggle and kiss
    Everyone needs to embrace things they don’t understand- They are truly the original domesticated american pet

  • Doug P

    I’m very much looking forward to watching this show, and am happy that PBS will be educating many people about this widely misunderstood animal. I’ve had my pet skunk for over 2.5 years, and he is part of the family. Domestically raised skunks are de-scented, generally well behaved, and easily litter box trained. I know that Deb C. and Skunkhaven do an amazing job with skunk education and rescues, and I thank anyone who helps with their care, and peoples education of this fine animal. There has never been a known case of rabies in a domestically raised skunk.

  • Teagan

    Hey! I think I’m in that! hope I’m on tv not for personal gain but I LOVE ANIMALS!

  • Susan Stainback

    Thank you so much for your focus on these beautiful animals. Thanks also to all the dedicated skunk people who have and continue to contribute their time and effort, not only in this show but in everyday life, to improving the lives of skunks in general as well as promoting peoples’ awareness of the beauty, intelligence and gentleness of this species… P.S. I am the proud mom of two beautiful skunkie kids who have blessed my life.

  • Bonnie Collins

    I can`t wait to see this program on such a beautiful animal as the skunk.They are very intelligent with wonderful personalites and can make great pets.Public education of this lovely creature can help our skunks live down the negative reputation that has plagued them over the years.Its very encouraging to see someone taking the time to show skunks in a much deserving postive way.

  • Bonnie

    Another Bonnie here to reiterate my excitement about the program. If people had a clue how wonderful these critters are we’d see more of them than cats and dogs. Don’t miss out on knowing and loving a skunk.

  • Dolores Lindvall

    Whether the wild or the domestic skunk, I think they are just the neatest critter. I can stand out in my barn at night and talk to the wilds who come in to get a snack of dry dog food. AND not even have one turn its rear end towards me. They seem to know that I am a friend. Then I can come in the house and get ready for bed and sleeping with my Black & White Classic, Sammi, my nine month old skunkette. It doesn’t get any better than that. I am really excited about this upcoming program!

  • Anita

    I am an animal lover and I have many types of pets, but my favorite is my skunks. They are so awesome. As others have said, they are not for everyone, but if you have the time and patience for taking care of them they are wonderful. I am looking forward to seeing the program, it has been a long time coming.

  • Stephanie Szmuc

    I can’t wait to see the show on Sunday. I love animals and always had pets. Then not long after I got married, my Husband’s allergies started to get really bad. I had to give away my ferrets, bunnies, cats, dogs, and my blue and gold Macaw. It was hard to do. Then I was at an educution program with my kids that was about wildlife. That is where I found out about skunks, and how they are non-allergic. I started looking for a breeder the next day. Lacie has been a part of our family for 8months now and my husband has not had any allergie attacks. He loves her so much that he lets her sleep with us, which she loves to do.

  • Vicki Staton

    I’m really looking forward to this show and I hope that it’s viewed by a lot of people who don’t own skunks – hopefully they’ll learn something. The general public is just so misinformed, it’s surprising the number of people who think that skunks are just “born with rabies” and that they’re just walking around waiting to attack people and spread the disease. I just got my first skunk a couple of months ago and she’s just the most wonderful animal. She just wants to snuggle and be loved. I can’t wait to get another! My hope is that some day I can take her out in public and not be worried that people will go the other way, I’m also waiting for the day that the rabies vaccine can be recognized for skunks just as it is for cats and dogs. We need more shows like this one!!

  • Renee

    I can’t wait to see “Is that Skunk?”. It is wonderful of everyone that participated and took the time and effort to educate people about an animal so many people have misconceptions about.

    For me as as a pet they are wonderful and intelligent. They play with my dogs and cats and are just as much a part of the family at the others.

    I hope people watch this special and become more informed. There is a lot to be learned about both wild and domestic skunks.


  • Sherry DeMarchi

    I wouldn’t give up my skunk if you offered me a million dollars for him! He brings me joy and love, every day and night!

  • Joan Kovach

    I’m really looking forward to the show. I love the domestic skunks. They are beautiful and fun. We rescue Shih Tzu and have several in our home right now. I wish we could have skunks too but don’t think it would be a good idea. We go to Deb’s and visit her’s whenever we can.

  • Diana Allen

    I can’t wait to see this show! Our babies are television stars! (of course, we knew this all along, right?)

  • KC

    Thank you for seeing how wonderful skunks are and doing a show on them! They deserve to have the GOOD things told and not just the bad things that give them the bad name!

    Now our little stinkers just wish THEY were on tv.
    One day. (:

  • Sebastian Miller

    I cant wait to see this program, and only hope that it shows Skunks as the wonderful animals that they are.To date they are one of the few common animals that seem to be ignored by wildlife film makers.

  • Cynthia

    We have had our darling Zuri for 2.5 years.She sleeps with us, plays chase,hide and go seek,and tug of war.We joke that if we ever left each other the custody case would make the national news. Thanks Deb for all your advice before and after we got Zuri. I can’t wait to see the show.

  • Laura Knight

    Its about time a programme was made about skunks, what I have seen so far it looks great. three cheers for the skunk, hiphip horah, hiphip horah, hip hip horah

  • ed and carol solan

    We love our skunk Niff, she has brought so much happiness and love to our family. Niff goes everywhere with us, she loves to be cuddled, she gets on with all our other pets.

  • Tanya

    Finally, a show on SKUNKS!! Thank you so much for doing this show. These are wonderful little creatures, and so musunderstood. I am hoping this show helps educate not only the public, but Veterinarians as well, about the differences between wild and domestic skunks. Wild skunks are just that, and belong in the wild. Domestic skunks are bred for pets..have been for over a hundred years, and should be treated no differently than any other pet by anyone.

    As a domestic skunk owner myself, I hope to see more shows about our beloved “fur-kids”!

  • Katherine

    Great idea! Skunks are so misunderstood, like raccoons. We all live among these animals and state wildlife agencies (and media) never tell the good and over sensationalize any negative. Both are kept as very beloved and contented pets. The rabies vaccine question is valid – same drug (Imrab 3) used in oral baits is used in domestic pets, why not wildlife pets by now? I hope you will pursue such stories, and a show like this for raccoons, please! Colorado caused the death of our beloved 5 yr raccoon a few months ago; has made them (and skunks) so prohibited now it is a full blown killing program. The tragedy of Zorra has sadly inspired a book to be published soon. CO will yank a rehabbers license if they try to rescue a skunk – all must be killed. No sanctuary is allowed these animals, or any native animal! Even with a USDA license. Check out the story you did in 1980’s on Stanleigh and “The Dream Forest” movie shown on PBS. We need to get back to appreciating such wildlife, not shunning them to blindly allow states killing of them.

  • katye mckissock

    It is just wonderful to see that such a prestigious and respected program as NATURE is doing a show on skunks. They are such a misunderstood creature. I can’t wait to see the show. I’m sure NATURE did a great job capturing the whole picture of these lovable, valuable animals

  • terry

    I cannot wait to see Jerry Dragoo, the evolutionary biologist at the University of New Mexico–mephistologist–who will be featured on the show. He is a wonderful, generous, brilliant, quirky guy, who has come to our home in Albuquerque a couple of times to help us humanely catch a problem skunk so he can take it for release in the nearby mountains. He happily makes his relocation service available to all, avoiding the less than happy alternative of calling animal control.

  • Diana

    We are so excited that my family and friends are coming over for a SKUNKY PARTY! We’ll watch the show while Charlie and Trapper amuse us with their silly antics and beg for cheese. lol

  • Dede

    I had a Skunk as a little girl. They are absolutely…
    one of our most beautiful creatures.

  • Alan Naumann

    I am looking forward to surprising my wife with this special program. She has been fascinated with skunks since 1963, and has a collection of over 2,000 skunks (antiques, figurines, etc.) and is considered quite an expert on the animal. She is known in Minneapolis as the “skunk lady.” Thanks for making her day.

  • Pepper

    I cannot wait for this segment to air. I think skunks are just fascinating creatures. Thanks to all who worked to produce this program.

  • fred

    I love the smell of skunk…am I the only one??

  • Judy Naumann

    Posting #37 is from my husband, he could not keep it a secret and I am glad! I have quoted Jerry Dragoo many times in my talks. There was an AP article printed years ago about people that love skunk smell – over 350 people responded and that started the “Whiffy Club”. I love the stories of Alaskan Sable (skunk skin) and other interesting stories like that. I do not advocate domestic or pets but it has been interesting to read about the people that have them as pets in apt bldgs and never decented them. How many know the 4 kinds? Can you tell – I AM VERY EXCITED TO SEE THE PROGRAM111

  • Dan Spirescu

    people walk in your house expecting a cat, dog or a fishtank but out of the corner of their eye strike a look at that fluffy black and white palm tree like tail and scream of freeze…”is that a skunk?’ And i say yeah, its Domino coming to say HI! Very different pet from your everyday house pets but probably one of the coolest and best snuggle pet ever. I am very excited for the premiere of this show. Good lick everyone.

  • Share Bond

    As President of SKUNKS, and one who has rescued and rehabilitated both the wild and domestic skunk, I think it’s wonderful that you are doing this documentary on the incredible animal, the skunk. There are many wonderful web sites on the wild and domestic skunk, but learning about them on television would be so much more beneficial. There are millions of people in the world that have pet skunks, and people all across the nation that rescue and rehabilitate wild skunks that will watch this show, as well as the curious viewers that share their backyards with these creatures. I look forward to watching this show!

  • Share Bond

    I have been teaching people in California, as well as around the nation, how to coexist with skunks, through the media, outreach programs, and on my SKUNKS Scentral web site Trapping and relocating or killing skunks does not solve the problems people have with them, but removing pet food and close off under their house does.

  • Cody & Arnold Hildebrand ( Wild Brother Animal Behavior Study)

    Hi. Havent heard as yet from Louanne Johnson, she is probably out researching “her study skunks” on Martha,s Vineyard Mass. Hey Louanne! come on out and take center stage, this very moment! Louanne, worked just as hard as the rest of us, in the making of this program ( Is That Skunk) Hey, Louanne, how is ” Babs” ? Skunks have taken her heart as well as the rest of us. Good job Louanne , Jerry Dragoo, and Deborah Ciperaini. Were proud to be in such company.

  • Valerie Dawson

    Finally!!! I have loved skunks since I was a kid, but never had the opportunity to learn about them from nature programs or books. This will be wonderful for kids and adults to learn more about this very misunderstood creature. I have a domestic pet skunk and I can’t believe how so many people are shocked and how badly some people react to my little sweetie, when they realize what it is they are afraid they are going to get sprayed. It’s comical in a way, but also sad that skunks are so misunderstood. I hope this program will help educate those people who are afraid of the wild skunks too, it breaks my heart everytime I hear about someone who gets scared of the skunk living in the barn/porch and kills them. Oh and Fred, no you are not the only one who likes the smell of skunk!

  • Watching… « Chaser Media

    [...] info By Alexandra Kitty Categories: All About Alex and Fangirl Is That Skunk? on [...]

  • Jeff

    I am one who loves the smell of skunks. Think of sweet coffee next time to smell one on the road.

  • Ray Spiegel

    When I was a boy of ten living in a suburb of New York City, my friend trapped a young skunk and sold it to me for $5.00. I kept it for a day or two, then it escaped and when I tried to catch it, it bit me. Then it was killed by a local dog. The poor skunk’s head was cut off and sent to Albany by the authorities to test for rabies, but results were incunclusive so I had to get a painful series of 15 rabies shots and a few other injections as well. Ever since then, I have had a deep affection for skunks.

  • BC

    just saw this episode…great stuff! the babies are SO cute!

  • El Simpson

    What a great show!!! Thank you from me and the skunks!!!

  • Valerie

    I LOVE skunks! Thank you for putting on a very informative show.

  • Mary M. Kokotek

    What a wonderful and enlightening show!! It’s great to know that there are people out there willing to help the animals who otherwise would get a bad rap. Many praises to the biologist in New Mexico and the lady of Skunk Haven. Wish there were more people like you here in South Carolina!! Thank you for all the compassion!!!

  • Kevin

    Think they really downplayed how easily they spray. The critters WILL spray with little provocation and are teritorrial as can be. Don’t let your guard down and I think they make nice hats.

  • joey

    Is it an old wives tale that the scent of a skunk can kill a human baby? I grew up in Boston, Ma, and if my Grandmother smelled a skunk she would grab infants and get them out of the area. Is this true? Thank you.

  • Peter Wolfe

    Our beautiful black and white stinkers, all sixteen of them. We have a skunk rescue and I can attest to the fact, skunks are some of the most charismatic, lovable,(most of the time), clean, rather smart creatures we have had the pleasure to have in our household.
    We take some to the local school and try to let kids know a little more about these totally misunderstood animals. We also point out never to approach any animal without proper supervision.
    By the Joey, NO, it is not true, period, but the smell, as we all know is extremely strong and I wouldn’t recommend anyone other than those with no sense of smell to be close to a skunk or its spray.

  • Azar

    Everything about that documentary “Is That Skunk?” was awesome — hey every human and their
    skunkies looked great!!!

    I hope that Dragoo allowed that fourth skunk (who was not ready to go out into the wilds) to stay at the sanctuary until it was ready to live on its own (possibly when its hormones kicked in or sooner)

    GREAT footage – VERY well done!!! I will see if I can get some time and space to show this to my Wildlife Rescue League — heck even my church group if I can get em to sit still for an hour.

    ONE THING however– I felt VERY bad for those feral cats in California– 1) In the first place — they should have been TNR’d to control their population
    AND — 2) Raccoon-proof Feral Cat feeders should
    have been built for them — those feeders will feed the ferals WITHOUT feeding the skunks (the plans to build them are on the Internet — just Google — Raccoons Can’t Jump Feral Cat Feeders —
    and you will find the plans)

    3) Skunks cannot jump or climb very well and raccoon-proof feral cat feeders will also work to keep the
    skunks away from the cat food — this is yet another way of educating the public and getting the public to work together to solve a problem without starving the feral cats (who are out on the street because man”kind” irresponsibly dumped them to reproduce and
    fend for themselves)

  • Tucker Hill

    When I was ten, a friend and I ran a trap line together. We took turns checking our traps each morning. Our goal was to trap fur bearing animals for their pelts. The morning it was my turn to check our line, I found one of my friend’s traps had been pulled in to the animal’s hole. Curious as to what he had caught, I pulled on the chain that was attached to the trap and to a stake outside the hole. It was barely light. Just as I got the animal to the point where I could see that it was a skunk, it lifted its tail and sprayed me full in the face. As the “Is that Skunk?” episode of Nature verified, the spray burns the skin and especially the eyes. I could not see clearly for about 10 minutes which felt more like 30. There is a happy ending: from that day to this I thoroughly enjoy the odor of skunk.

  • Jim

    My wife and I do wildlife rehab and have had many skunks come thru our facility and after watching your show tonight we got a lot more information to help us in the job we do to put these and other creatures back in the wild. It was a very good show and the public needs to see this and other shows like it to get better educated about the wild life in the suberbs.

  • jacqueline

    I raised a baby striped skunk from 3 days old!! He didn’t have hair and his eyes not open in the middle of the road trying to stand on these shaky little legs!

  • Misty

    The skunks were so cute and interesting to learn about. Thanks for teaching us about them.

  • Dog sprayed by a skunk? Here’s the solution | Tricia’s Musings

    [...] evening after my husband had been watching a show about California’s green energy program a show about Skunks came on PBS. It was part of their Nature [...]

  • Jeffrey Hetchler

    I did not like the show. I like nature, and I understand that the idea is to try to overcome some of the myths about wildlife. However these are wild and dangerous animals. As a child I was attacked by a rabid skunk while sleeping outdoors and was infected with rabies. The treatment is agonizing and the experience horrifying, it never sprayed. They are aggressive wild animals and need to be appreciated from a distance. They are not pets. For every one who is encouraged to get a skunk as pet there are other more worthy animals such as dogs cats and ferrets that are destroyed.

  • Matt

    I work in Marysville, CA, near the levees. I think the skunks were watching the show last night, as the office carries their distinct aroma this morning.

  • Georgia Jenkins

    How can I get a copy of the show?

  • KC

    Hey, Jeffrey..The key word there was RABID skunk. Of course a rabid animal of any sort will just attack, no questions asked. Dogs and cats can get rabies, too. Did you ever think of that?

    My female skunk is so sweet and would never harm a fly. (A cricket maybe…but not a fly). She loves to be around people and loves to go shopping. All animals are deserving of love and affection. I wonder what you would be saying if it was a rabid dog that attacked you.

  • Mark D

    Hi Jeffery, Sorry to hear of your horrible experience, but everyone should understand that any animal even a pet dog or cat if infected with rabies would attack. Also it needs to be made clear, that our pet skunks are NOT WILD! They have been bred in captivity since the 1950’s, they are domesticated animals, and do not carry rabies. I believe only one domesticated skunk has been reported to have rabies, and it was infected by another animal. No one should ever take a wild animal and try to make it a pet. Although having a pet skunk is not for everyone, you have to be patient and have lots of time to dedicate.

  • Martha H

    i just wanted to say thanks for doing this.I hope you do more on skunks.I think they are such sweet n wonderful animals and need a break from all the people that think they are not humans who are created equal …animals should have that right too.rabies are not popular in skunks…only if they get exposed to it…just like anything else.i could tell you of my skunk encounters n it would make you laugh.they are so intelligent.did u know that the pilgrams had them as pets?so they are part of our is real intresting.please do more on them..i can’t understand why several states you can have one as pet but others you can’t..its not fair.i have love those animals,,,sooo cute.

  • Heidi

    jeffrey, i’m sorry you had such a frightening experience as a child. a dog or cat with rabies could infect anyone as well. our skunks are so not wild! they are totally domesticated, sleeping in their little beds, using their litter boxes.
    i have yet to see the show though & this computer won’t cooperate tonight & allow me to see even the preview.
    i’ve had dogs, cats, birds but i say without a doubt my older skunk thelma is the best pet ever. she sleeps w/me every night. little louis is still a “baby” & adjusting to home life after 4 months in a plexiglass cube in a local pet store. he loves to be in the room where everyone is congregating.
    they can & do make good pets; they just require some more effort. it all comes back with love!

  • Jeffrey Hetchler

    Skunks are 2nd in transmissions to humans, after their agressive cousins, and before dogs, foxes, bats and cats. Few wild skunks are up to date on their shots. If someone saw this show and decided to get to close they could be infected. The stink and fear keeps people away, which is good for both of them. Racoons infect people because they are not afraid of them.
    And Healthy skunks are fearless and don’t scurry off like feral felines and canides.

    OK I just hate them and it’s personal
    KC Says:

    Hey, Jeffrey..The key word there was RABID skunk. Of course a rabid animal of any sort will just attack, no questions asked. Dogs and cats can get rabies, too. Did you ever think of that?

  • Chris

    After reading all these posts, I feel it ought to be noted by all, especially the pet-shunk lovers… that there are MANY states where it is illegal to import and/or possess a domestically bred skunk. For example, no state in New England permits pet skunks without being issued a permit by that state’s Wildlife Agency. So before you get people all excited to buy those that you are breeding or pay adoption fees for those you rescued… do the responsible thing and tell them they MUST check their state/city regulations first! Otherwise, they get confiscated and often euthanized, which I know none of you want unless your only objective is the profit of the sale. 70 posts and not one mention of it…

  • Babara Castro

    Great show. I have lived in Taos for 15 years an have seen dozens of skunks and bottle fed a few. Never have I seen a rabid skunk here. They are great at keeping the mouse population down, better then my cats. They rid the garden of grasshoppers. They are better than guard dogs at keeping your property safe. By the way the most dangerous bite is from humans.

  • Kathy Kron

    I am an animal lover but am somewhat dismayed and concered after watching Nature: Is that skunk? When Marysville residents determined that the lure for the skunks was cat food put out for ferals, the city pressured citizens to discontinue putting out food. This is all and well, I suppose, for the skunks as they are suited for the woods and are adept at finding other (more natural) sources of food. My concern is for the feral cat population. They would have become dependent on this food source and to drastically cut it down could be disasterous to the cats. This could cause huge numbers of painful starvation. The feral cat “problem” is really a people problem – irresponsible pet owners who don’t spay/neuter and abondon their animals when they move. The poor cats should not be victimized twice. Please tell me that those individuals who had been feeding the cats at least mobilized efforts to have the cats trapper/neutered/released (TNR programs are very successful around the country)and found other means to care for the cats. To cut them off cold turkey is just cruel. I hope someone will email me to assure me the cats were humanely delt with.

  • Elvin

    The show, ‘Is that Skunk?’, was really PBS at its best! Thorough, informative, entertaining and a little bit quirky! Keep up the great work!

    As to feral cats, I hope the show does discourage feeding them. They have a devastating impact on songbird populations and feeding them just inflates the problem started by irresponsible pet owners.


    I had a false impression about skunks until I saw this show. Thank you, NATURE, for dispelling ignorance. Skunks have such sweet, sensitive faces and a very affectionate nature. Thank you for making us aware !

  • Pati Temple

    We would like to purchase a DVD of the skunk program.

    How do we do this?

  • Dave

    Maybe you covered this in your program, but I was wondering about the skunk’s own sense of smell. You say that they’re carnivores, and I’ve seen them apparently digging for grubs. Do they have large or small olfactory lobes in their brains?


  • Stevie Leonard

    I love the but their spray stinks like $%$% if in your eyes it burns and your nose dies!

  • Kirstyn

    I was at kingsdominionand i was riding go-karts when a mother skunk and eight babies came out. I got sprayed! it was SO bad!

  • Suzanne Meinheit

    I, too, would like to know how the feral cat population was handled. The cats I saw looked very undernourished. TNR is the humane solution – not just stopping feeding.

  • Megan

    I have a pet skunk in a state that it is ilegal. He is the most loving and entertaining animal. He sleeps in my bed with me and my dogs and cats. Thanks for educating people about them! You can own almost every other mammal as a pet but not a skunk! Please go to and sign the petition to legalize them!!

  • Lori

    I am a veterinary technology student at Purdue. I have to do three reports this semester on an exotic pet/lab animal. I had already gotten approval to do my reports on the striped skunk – this program gives me valuable material for my papers – Thank you! I was especially interested in the information about the skunks’ habitat, along the boundaries of various environments, even the ones we create. Are the great owls the skunks ONLY natural predators?

  • Lora Lovell

    They do make wonderful pets. My Dad had one given to him as a Christmas present back in the 60’s when I was growing up at home in Cleveland, Ohio. We had a dog. The dog and skunk would chase each other around the house and even in the back yard The skunk’s name was Monty and the dog’s name was Teddy. My Dad would put a harnass on Monty and a leash on Teddy and take them both for walks. Many people could not believe what they were seeing. Even tho Monty’s stink glands had been surgically removed he would still act like he was trying to “bomb” you and times. How comical! If they were allowed to be as pets here in Kansas, I would have definitely had one over the years; I settled for plan B–cats. Keep up the good work on your Nature programs. I love them all. Thank you.

  • Sabrina

    I’m angry at the misinformed people in Marysville who, instead of taking care of their abandoned cat population in a humane manner or prosecuting the people who abandoned their cats, they persecute those that feed the cats. What shortsighted people!

    How dare they starve cats to feed their own egos. The reason they have so many skunks around human houses is because they are destroying the skunks natural habitat by building. Let’s all descend on Marysville with kibble in hand! Shame on these so called people.

  • cindy

    I would like the recipe for the skunk smell remover. I loved the program. Thanks.

  • Margarett

    Please if you could send me the formula for the skunk smell remover. My Grandfathers dog sprinkles, got sprayed by a big skunk, with a big powerful smell.
    Thank you

  • Margarett

    Please if you could send me the formula for the skunk smell remover. My Grandfathers dog sprinkles, got sprayed by a big skunk, with a big powerful smell.
    Thank you
    Sincerely, Margarett

  • Albert

    I wondered what happened to the four baby of the orphan skunks. We saw three leave, but one stayed behind to be with the man. What did they end up doing with that skunk? Just curious, as I could tell from the show that the fellow REALLY loved them and REALLY was a kindhearted soul.

    Thank you for this program.

  • Dale

    Please, please, please post the recipe for the skunk smell remover … ASAP!!!!

    Thank you!

  • Kristen Bieger

    Yeah, my aunt’s dog Sydney has gotten sprayed by a skunk a few times now.

  • Love Scent Guy

    I live around many skunks since I am in a very wooded area. The smell is artrocious. Any help in getting rid of the odor when sprayed yourself is very helpful. I like a love scent, not a stinky scent.
    love scent coupon

  • Earth Muffin

    Thank you so much for this episode on skunks. Loved it! Though their smell is horrible, I have always been interesed in them.

    Thank goodness for Dragu(sp) for his dedication to research and kind gentle soul in rescue/release. Oh and also his inability to smell the skinky things… LOL

  • Diane

    Loved the show. Live in the country & have a lot of skunks around (also due to leaving food out for my outside cats). After the first intense burn of spray dissipates i actually like the smell of skunk. It reminds me of the oil in lemon peels. I drive down the road & say aahhh & my kids say i’m crazy. Always wanted to know more about them. Thank you!

  • kristi

    I really enjoyed this show. The skunks are adorable and to learn all about their personalities was wonderful. I may look into helping with skunk rehabielitation so they can get back to the wild. I have been insired. Thank you.

  • Ronnie Greer

    Here’s a link with the exact recipe for odor removal that was mentioned on the show : They used Hydrogen Peroxide on the show rather than vinegar.
    When I was 7 years old my pet dog came in sprayed by a skunk. Couple weeks later my dog developed rabies. It was just like the Old Yeller show. I think they are wonderful creatures. I’ve more than once had skunks see me out in the wild and their curiosity make them follow me. I like watching them search for food out in the edges of fields but when they follow me I definitely gradually leave the area. One question I didn’t get answered by the show was can skunks carry the rabies virus and never get the rabies symptoms?

  • Ronnie

    Also they mentioned to leave the odor removal recipe on the “sprayee” for at least 10 minutes and then rinse with water. When I was 7 yrs. old in 1957 there was a rabies epidemic in my area and skunks, foxes, pets, and dairy animals were all catching rabies. It was a coincidence that Old Yeller the movie was showing about the same time. Skunks are one of natures cutest animals. If I had a pet one I’d have to name it” Pepe Le Pew”

  • Beth carpenter

    I really enjoyed this p[rogram. I have been intereste is skunks since I was a child. I find them really interesting .
    This program taught me things that I had never really known . I still want one for a pet but I cannot have one so now I just collect stuffed skunks.
    Thanks for the very informative program.

  • Ventro

    Do you using @twitter ?

  • Baby Nutrition

    Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from this website.

  • Alphonso Beachamp

    All cyclists are required to obey traffic signals and other rules of the road. Bike boxes are a safety measure protect both vehicle operators and cyclists. SDOT requested police enforcement at new bike box locations in an effort to educate both motorists and bicyclists.

  • Sherell

    Usually there are some fascinating time limits in this post however I don’t know if they all center to heart. You can find some validity however I will take hold opinion until I explore it further. Good article , thanks therefore we want extra! Put into FeedBurner as properly

  • Miquel Golston

    What Are Some Good Examples of Cellulite Fighting’ Food? Fish is a good example, as it is one-food-army’ when it comes down to losing cellulite.

  • property in spain

    I was searching in google for something else, but I must admit your website is very interesting

  • Fred Muwwakkil

    If you need more funds, please make another call for funds.

  • suntrust online logon

    If Brad did nickname Jonah Fat Man, it was probably meant as a term of endearment. My hubby’s BFF has called him Fat Matt the Water Rat for over 20 years and the BFF is known as Rob licking my knob. LOL!

  • Elroy Maturi

    I like Your Article about Gold Bullion Grain HOT DEALS BIG SAVINGS Perfect just what I was searching for! .

  • banking online a

    Nice job Guys, and God Bless our Troops!

  • a online banking

    Hi my family member! I wish to say that this article is amazing, great written and come with approximately all important infos. I’d like to see extra posts like this .

  • Leora Collelo

    Congratulations> it would be better though if you told us the amount you sell but as you agreed not to tell it, it’s fine.Well Done again

  • proxy

    You two are just great together! I love it when you get together with your Dad to make a video. The recipes are wonderful and the video always makes me smile. My best to your dad and hope that he is feeling healthy every day!Gail

  • graduate school personal statement

    Very impressive post. Thank you for sharing.

  • graduate school personal statement

    Thank you, I’ve just been looking for info about this subject for a long time and yours will be the finest I have discovered till now. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • szkolenia bhp piaseczno

    It’s very good post.

  • dog training information

    Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to present something again and help others such as you helped me.

  • Cheap Designs for Sale

    I am now not sure the place you’re getting your information, but good topic. I needs to spend some time finding out much more or figuring out more. Thanks for wonderful info I used to be searching for this info for my mission.

  • Marcus Friedly

    Highly descriptive blog, I loved that bit. Will there be a part 2?

  • Heidi Perryman

    I so enjoyed your program on Skunks, and your footage was beautiful as usual! But I was very disappointed to see the Marysville part of the story, and the “mystery” of skunk population solved first by burning the levies and filling up dens with concrete and THEN hear the discussion of possible feeding of feral cats being an issue. Since it was PBS and not animal planet I was thinking there’d be some dynamic explanation like the 15 year reproduction cycle of cicada or something, an explanation that an average wildlife worker wouldn’t think of off the top of their head before their first cup of coffee.

    Everyone involved with wildlife in any community can tell you generally where the feral cats hang out and can usually point to the two or three injured souls who feed them. If a community is lucky there is even one or two that trap and spay. Regardless it should have been the very FIRST thing that Marysville thought of and certainly the very FIRST thought in your mind since you have experience with all kinds of urban wildlife.

    I’m a child psychologist who became an accidental beaver advocate when my community became interested in protecting some urban beavers in 2006. Over the years some of our kits died of roundworm parasite (baylisascaris) which they probably caught from raccoons (who can carry it but don’t get sick from it) and the raccoons were there in such great numbers because of the feral cats in the area which were being fed. Any one in Martinez could have seen this answer right away.

    Keep doing your great work, but always remember that if wildlife is causing a problem to look for a human reason first! My friends John Hadidian of HSUS or Ned Bruha (the skunk whisperer of Oklahoma) would have told you that if you asked!

    When is Nature doing a program on beavers? I think you’re in Massachusetts which is a great focal point for the story as beavers have been hotly contested since the change in trapping laws in 96. Research is constantly finding that beavers are hugely important to fish, birds, wildlife, waterstorage, you name it. They’re the trickle down economy that works. But they have unique ability to challenge our plans and are sometimes less popular than skunks!

    Heidi Perryman, Ph.D.
    Worth A Dam

  • Mike Meyer

    I saw IS THAT SKUNK? Did anyone catch that recipe for odor removal for a dogs? With the measured amounts .

  • Homer

    Some years ago, I bought a 14 acre place from an native-american woman. It was a virtual paradise..It was in hot country, there was two acres of lawn around the house, all under a canopy of shade trees. For three hours, as we talked, fifteen feral cats and six skunks fed at the “cat’s” dish and were moving all around us. The cats kept a cautious distance away, but the skunks were weaving under and around the chairs we sat in and were being very social. For the years I lived there, the skunks and I had a pretty nice relationship. They lived under the tool shed and I lived in the house.

  • windy

    Thank you for the skunk program. I farm in VT and have had skunks around for 30 years, ever since I raised 4 babies when the neighbor shot their mother. They wander into the barn and eat with the cats, everyone gets along. … Until this September when they began attacking people and animals. Ended up shooting 5 rabid skunks and losing 2 good cows to rabies. The skunks seem to suffer terribly as they scream constantly and come at anything that moves with mouth wide open.

    I am extremely angry that the USDA has a program to distribute oral rabies vaccine in edible bait , they drop it from airplanes BUT WILL NOT GIVE IT TO PEOPLE TO PLACE WHERE THE ANIMALS ARE KNOWN TO DEN.

    Official word is “just shoot all the skunks you see”.

  • Frances Barbour

    I’m submitting my skunk story: Deer Isle, Maine, 04627. This is our family summer home, where our dog would mistake the black&white Persian-Angora cat for a skunk every week, it seemed. My brother and I would Rochambeau for the tomato juice shower…

    The best anecdote, though, is a couple of summers ago. Being a summer-only, non-native resident of Maine for 5 generations, we arrived to our cottage in July. The day after we put out our summer’ lawn ornament’ in the front lawn, namely the lobster trap & toggle my brother reaped from a nearby beach in the ’70s, my (new to the Maine thing 2nd) husband cried out to me that afternoon, “Frances! Help!!!”

    Evidently, we keen ’summer folk’ (the Natives have worse names for us) had managed to trap a baby skunk in our lobster trap! I came to the rescue; poor tiny thing was huddled, asleep or exhausted or both. I used my ‘mamma voice to a baby’ to pick it up and put it on the other side of the trapping netting, where we left it alone to eventually walk away to freedom.

    We could only think what our Caretaker would say: “My God, you folks sure know how to use a lobstah trap, dont’cha?!”

  • Sword Art Online

    My girlfriends dog got sprayed by skunk.No matter how hard you try to remove that odor, there is always a faint hint of the smell leftover. It’s lasted ages – many months. Horrible!

Produced by THIRTEEN    ©2014 THIRTEEN Productions LLC. All rights reserved.

PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.