Wildlife comparisons

Published September 7, 2013 by Ellie

Skunks stink. They really stink. You’ve seen them on cartoons and in movies, but you still can’t imagine how much they stink. Last night I was woken up because there was a skunk nearby (I never see them) and it had sprayed something, and it smelled so bad I woke up. One got hit on the road on the way to school, and you could smell it half a mile away.

What does it smell like? You know those farts when you’ve eaten something waaaay to garlicky the day before? And you know those farts when your stomach hurts and they kind of smell fermented and stagnant somehow? Combine those things, and it’s about like that. Maybe burnt in the bottom of the oven along with the lasagne overflow that you never remember to clean out until after you’ve put something else in the oven and it’s now too hot to clean.

Stinkbugs, on the other hand, don’t smell. Well not much. My girls found one in their room and we trapped it in a Squinky ball because we couldn’t find anything else. I guess it panicked, I know I would have done. Know what it stank like? Once we’d released it outside, I smelled the empty Squinky ball and it smelled a bit like the celery in your fridge that’s been there long enough that you’ll need to check it before adding it to a meal.

Before we moved I was convinced I would be able to befriend a raccoon and feed it kitchen scraps on the back porch at sunset. I don’t have a back porch yet, but I saw a raccoon behind the house, on the fence that serves as an entertaining obstacle to the teens next door when playing basketball.

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Then I was told that they pretty much all have rabies, which I don’t believe. But they have got sharp teeth and weird grippy little hands and are incredibly clever, which creeps me out. Makes me suspect they are clever enough to realise that they don’t want to be my friend because I can be quite flaky and would probably forget to feed them if they found themselves in a position to have to rely on me. I suspect that my pets have been signalling as much to all the passing wildlife.

There are also no magpies here, which made me really sad when I realised it a couple of weeks ago. Around the same time I pointed out a swallowtail to a friend and she asked if that’s what British people call butterflies.

But our village does have a huge number of jet black squirrels, and one albino one, which cheers me up almost enough to compensate for the magpie deficiency.

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