View Full Version : skunk stink mystery

02-18-2009, 06:51 PM
Was at Baxter State Park at the beginning of the month for 6 days. On our hike out (last night was at Roaring Brook Cabin) I found the remains of a skunk 50 yards down the trail.


I'm sure that it happen in the last 14 hours or so cause I was in the area prior.

Also, I spotted a Pine Martin roaming around the cabin a fews days before on the way in. BTW, at Chimney Pond I spotted one around the New Cabin there.
So, my guess is that the Martin got the skunk. What was strange was that there was absolutely no skunk smell. How could that be? Maybe a baby skunk with out the stink gland?


Kevin Rooney
02-19-2009, 07:04 AM
Ever seen a skunk actually spray? It doesn't happen immediately, although it can seem that way if you're trying to get out of their way. They have to sense the threat, turn around and point their back-end towards the threat, and then let go. It takes a second or two, sometimes more than enough time for a fierce predator like a marten to dispatch them.

02-19-2009, 07:57 AM
What were the tracks like around the remains?

My first guess is that it was a great horned owl. They are on nests right now with some already hatched. They are the chief preditor of skunks. There is no carcass and few remains besides the fur.

02-19-2009, 08:50 AM
I didn't think about an Owl, interesting.

It was on a snowmobile trail, the snow was hard packed so I didn't see any tracks. Did you notice the urine spot on the snow in the picture? I assume it was from the skunk. It was extremely bright yellow.

02-19-2009, 08:56 AM
Did you notice the urine spot on the snow in the picture? I assume it was from the skunk. It was extremely bright yellow.

I noticed that. But think, if I had silent talons or teeth shearing through my bones and flesh I may not have control og my body functions. Dr Wu has been talking about diapers lately, they could be usefull but it all depends.

02-19-2009, 11:27 AM
skunks are born "fully loaded". And they don't run out of spray very quickly. I've heard of them spraying over a dozen times in a few minutes.

My guess is that it was such a quick ambush the skunk was probably dead before it knew what hit it. Fishers and martens tend to kill with a crushing bite to the head, a very quick death. Although they will often dart in for a few bites and scratches to the eyes to slow the prey down before the kill bite. They are so fast a skunk would have trouble keeping its rear end aimed at the fisher/marten, the same quickness that allows them to kill porcupines by avoiding the tail and quills. So even if there was a short standoff, the skunk may have been so outmaneuvered it never got a clear shot.

the owl theory makes sense too. a silent ambush from the sky is hard to defend against.

a look at the skull would tell a lot.

02-27-2009, 10:36 AM
You mentioned early February -- and having passed by the RB bunkhouse last week, what I'm about to say sounds less likely -- but male skunks in particular leave their winter dens in February and start looking for loving. From the picture you showed, the meat wasn't present -- primarly pelt and skin -- and the scent gland may have been carried off elsewhere along with the meat.

That marten, or another one, has been around the bunkhouse for a while now.