The skunk family name is Mephitidae, which literally means “stink”. This animal family includes skunks and stink badgers, both well known for their scent glands. Skunks used to be part of the Mustelidae family, which includes “musty” animals like weasels, badgers, otters, ferrets, and mink. Modern genetic identification now shows that skunks are on a branch of their own.
Skunk odor is caused by unique sulfur-based chemical compounds called thiols within the skunk’s body. There’s chemistry behind that nasty scent ! Pungent doesn’t begin to describe the smell of skunk spray. Contrary to popular opinion, taking a bath in tomato juice does not get rid of skunk odors. The odor has been likened to a mixture of perfume musk, essence of garlic, burning sulfur and sewer gas "magnified a thousand times”.
Skunks are opportunistic eaters with a varied diet. They are nocturnal foragers who eat fruit and plants, insects, larvae, worms, eggs, reptiles, small mammals, and even fish.