Skunk (Wild America), by Lee Jacobs
If it is not obvious, skunks are wild animals. And though a rare and lucky person will be able to run into a domesticated skunk that cannot spray you, or may be exceedingly lucky to have them as a pet, this book is quite sensibly designed to show skunks in their natural domain and in the context of other wild animals, most of whom are much larger than it. As it is skunks as wild animals that are the most confusing and puzzling to people, it is for the best that this book focuses on that aspect of the skunk, seeing as in most of the United States (where the skunk can be most easily found) the animal is considered to be a rabies threat and is impossible to own legally, as is the case sadly in Oregon. Yet a book that would suit my own interest in skunks would have to be considerably larger than this. This book has a more modest aim, to make the skunk better known and thus presumably less feared by people who would not wish to recognize the good it does in getting rid of vermin, and this book certainly achieves that modest aim.
The book introduces the skunk with a discussion about the range of the skunk in the wild as well as those animals that are considered to be relatively closely related, like badgers, weasels, and wolverines. After that the author examines the skunk’s environment, all of it with adorable wildlife photos, as one might imagine. There then follows a look at the skunk’s body. There is a discussion of special features that skunks have, their social life, such as it is, as well as their life path as hunters and raiders of things smaller than itself. After this comes a look at the mating game, which is rather delicately told, as well as how it is that skunks raise their adorable kits. The book then concludes with a look at the relationship between skunks and humans, which has all too often been a fraught one, after which there is a glossary, suggestions for further reading, and an index.