Skunk family on an evening stroll

What do you call a group of baby skunks? Is there a collective noun? How about a “flounce”, or maybe a “hair do”?* Whatever they’re called, these little beauties with their brilliant fur and funny wobbly gait came through our yard on a field trip with their mother and we caught them on a camera. They busied themselves on the firepit for a minute or so and then galloped off and were gone.

The babies stick so close to their mama that they’re a shimmering little mass of black and white fur and almost impossible to count. When mama ran off though, they followed behind her in a long line and we could see there were 6. We think they’re probably a couple of months old.

Every baby is unique in its mix of black and white – there’s a white tail, a black tail, thick white stripes, thin ones; some hold their tails up like flags, some drag them along the ground. Mama – very glamorous – has a big patch of red in her tail.

Skunks aren’t very popular because, as everyone knows, they spray an acrid and very hard-to-wash-off spray on attackers. We see a lot of skunks here, they even come up on the deck sometimes to say hello when we’re having an evening glass of wine, and we’ve never been sprayed, but we’re careful not to startle them, just in case.

* The answer is a “surfeit”, which, if I were a skunk, I would resent.



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