Most Canadians are familiar with skunks, and in particular with the striped skunk, readily recognizable by its characteristic black and white coloring that starts at the beginning of their forehead and extends down their bodies in a V shape to the base of their tail. And most of them were probably not alarmed when they’ve encountered one in their neighborhood, given that they are usually easy-going and known for their surprising friendliness towards humans.
On the other hand, skunks are (in)famous for yet another thing: their noxious, eye-watering, almost-impossible-to-remove stench that invades and permeates all things sprayed upon. The nature’s version of tear gas, the highly repellant musk is produced by skunks to mark their territory and, more often, to defend themselves from predators. The “spray” is, in fact, a mixture of seven volatile compounds, containing thiols, thioacetates, and methylquinoline, that can be accurately discharged up to 12 feet and up to 20 feet with less accuracy.