Limericks, Rated G

Little Stinkers

Skunks, those little stinkers, do well
With their black and white colors to tell
Every creature on earth
To give them a wide berth
Or suffer their hideous smell.

Contrary to a common misconception, the skunk’s (Genus Mephitis) pungent defensive spray is not urine, but rather the product of the pair of anal glands at the base of the tail. The error is an old one, as the name of the creature derives from an Algonquin language, which described the skunk as a “pissing fox.” To launch the foul-smelling mist, the skunk contracts muscles near the glands. It can achieve impressive accuracy, even up to ten feet (three meters) away. Though the stench of the horrible sulfur compounds may linger for days—and has been known to cause even temporary blindness—its ill effects do not cause permanent injury.

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