Friday, February 28, 2014

Spring is Coming! ...eventually


Earlier this week, I saw my first sign of spring!

File:Striped Skunk.jpg
Source

Skunks in the 'hood!

While I haven't missed the little buggers, I have missed the mild temps and with warmer weather, come skunks.  Since skunks are nocturnal and, I suppose, my running time can be considered night time, the skunks and I are often out in the hood at the same time. 

Monday morning, I saw two skunks. The first one was in my front yard.  Yikes.

When he waddled toward the back yard, I sent Randy a text message telling him to beware when he lets the pooches out after breakfast.  The last thing we need is a stinky dog first thing in the morning.

We 5at5ers--Marcie, Jenny and I--were at mile 3ish when I saw the second one.

I told my running buddies to walk and we crossed the street (as opposed to running in the middle of the street where I prefer) so we wouldn't startle Little Skunky.  Jenny and Marcie crossed the street and went onto the sidewalk, just to be safe.

It would appear that one of us is a little more used to skunk encounters than the others. :)

After we passed the skunk safely, my buddies exclaimed that they didn't even see the skunk!  How in the world did I see him from so far away?!

Practice.

I've been running in the pre-dawn hours for so long, I can spot a skunk from several houses away.

Skunks are just as afraid of us as we are of them, the difference is, they have a super stinky weapon.  We don't.  Here are a few tips on how to keep yourself from smelling like a skunk:

If you see something small, dark in color and it moves, assume it's a skunk.  (I've mentioned in one of my random thoughts posts 2 summers ago that skunks' eyes glow blue in headlights.  Good to know.)
  • slow down.  You don't want to startle them.  If the skunk is close to the road, I walk.
  • give wide berth.  Skunks' spray can travel up to 15 feet, but they have poor vision and can only see up to 10 feet.  I like to stay just a little farther than that.  Just in case.
  • If you see multiple skunks together, assume it's a mother and her babies and run like hell in the opposite direction.  Momma skunks are more likely to spray if she thinks her babies are in danger.
Generally speaking, skunks aren't "spray happy" and will not just spray anything that moves near them....with the exception of the Mommas.  Fear the Mommas.

Skunks only have enough stinky chemical in their glands to spray 5 or 6 times and it can take up to 10 days for their bodies to replenish their stash, so they are reluctant to waste the spray.

As you can see, we 5at5ers survived our skunk encounter and with a little sense, you will too.


Run on, my friends.

Are you spooked by skunks? I used to be, but I've found that if I leave them alone, they do the same for me.
Have you ever been sprayed?  Luckily, no.