Skunk Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Skunks are a kind of animal that have a unique way of protecting themselves. Come learn about skunks, skunk spray, what they eat and where in North America you can find them.

What is a Skunk?

You are walking through the woods on a pretty evening and aren't paying any attention to the small creature that is close by. You keep walking when suddenly you look down and see it! You'd know that black and white animal anywhere, but it's too late! You've been sprayed by a skunk!

Skunks are small, black and white animals that create a strong, stinky smell to protect themselves. They aren't aggressive or fast runners, but they don't have to be.


There are many different kinds of skunks, and their fur may have spots, stripes or swirly designs, but they are all black and white. They all use a very stinky spray to protect themselves, which is probably why there aren't many animals who try to make a snack out of them! They may look cute and cuddly, but you'd better give them a lot of space instead of a hug!

What is that Smell?

Skunks make a greasy spray that comes from holes under their tail. It smells awful and can briefly burn an enemy's eyes so the skunk can run away. A skunk can shoot that nasty spray up to 10 feet away, and its terrible odor can be smelled for up to one and a half miles!

It is very hard to wash off, so if you get sprayed, it will take a lot more than your usual bath to get rid of the horrible smell! Your friends probably won't want to hang out with you for a while, either!

Skunk with its tail lifted
Skunk with its Tail Lifted

Skunks will usually warn you before they spray, so if you see a skunk thumping its feet on the ground, curving its back like a mad cat and lifting its tail, you should get out of there right away!

Where do Skunks Live?

Skunks are from the continent of North America and can be found in the wild from Canada all the way down to Mexico. They adjust well to different surroundings and live in areas including forests, meadows, fields and farms. They may even find their way into your backyard!

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