Solitary, nocturnal creatures, skunks generally go about their business unnoticed. But then there’s that thing they do . . . and oh, boy, when they do it, no one can ignore them.
But there’s far more to skunks than their stench, and with this beautifully illustrated entry in Reaktion’s Animal series, Alyce Miller gives these furry scavengers their due. More than being unappreciated, skunks, Miller reveals, have a long history of persecution: killed off as smelly nuisances, they have also been hunted for their fur and, yes, their unique musk, which has found a perhaps unexpected use in perfume. Moving from nature to culture, Miller delves into the long line of skunks that have played parts in literature, film, and folklore, from the antics of Pepe Le Pew to the role of skunks in Native American spiritual beliefs. As growing urban wildlife populations bring humans and skunks ever closer, Miller’s book will help us understand—and appreciate—these beautiful, intriguing, and wholly distinct animals.