By Ralphine Major

At first glance, it is difficult to see where the picture begins or ends. The black and white ball of fur on a bed of leaves shows a glimpse of nature few people would ever stumble across. The rare photo was taken by Caroline McGinnis and shared with me by her father-in-law, Perry McGinnis. “She was working in her garden when she found a family of six baby skunks at the edge of the woods, all asleep and in a tight ball,” Perry wrote.

Skunks are interesting to observe from a distance. As babies, they may appear cute. But, as they grow older, skunks will often use their defense mechanism that releases a terrible odor to protect themselves. They usually walk slowly. Their big, bushy tail gives them a proud presence as if they own the world. I have seen them walk among raccoons and cats without incident. I have also seen a little crippled skunk that moved at a slower pace, never giving up. Though usually found in rural areas, occasionally skunks may be seen in the city. Despite the sickening odor they release, skunks are beautiful animals. Some have markings that are nearly all white, while some have only a touch of white on their black coat. Recently, we saw a family of young skunks emerge from the woods. It was amazing to see one after the other appear, all marching in a single line behind their mother. We counted seven or eight before quickly leaving the area.

The wonders of nature! They are all around for us to enjoy.