A friendly skunk

by Timothy W. Donohoe

Raum für Experimente (Ausgabe III/2017)

-

Illustration: THEPALMER


Take tomato juice - and a lot of it! Rub it in everywhere, whether on pets or humans. This has been the recipe against the grotesque sulfur secretion of the North American skunk for generations. To defend itself, the “Striped Skunk” sprays a mixture of substances rich in alkanethiol up to six meters from two anal glands. The omnivores live on the outskirts of the city and scavenge in trash cans and pets feeding bowls at dusk. The English word "skunk" probably comes from "seganku" from the Indian Algonquin language and is made of the words for "urine" and "fox".

The skunk appears in the legends of the indigenous people. The Winnebago tribe in Nebraska, for example, told of a girl who fends off a wise turtle and becomes a skunk as a punishment. In the fairy tales of the Chippewa, the Skunk warns of death in the swamp area. And the name Chicago developed from “shikaakwa”, as the Cree and Chippewa west of Lake Michigan called the striped animal. Skunks are also recurrent figures in US pop culture: for example the comic character Miz Ma’s’selle Hepzibah or Pepé Le Pew from the cartoon series of the same name by Warner Brothers. By the way: tomato juice only helps to a certain extent against the smell of skunks. The mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dishwashing detergent actually works better.

Translated by Jess Smee



similar articles

A story goes around the world (World report)

A big step backwards

by Shi Ming

Cultural relations between China and the West have been steadily expanded over decades. But under Xi Jinping the dialogue has ground to a standstill. Are we about to wind back the clock?

more


Earth, how are you doing? (Books)

“People Have Been Lead to Believe That Their Problems Are Due to Black People”

an interview with Ibram X. Kendi

In his book “Stamped from the Beginning”, Ibram X. Kendi shows how stereotypes of Afro-Americans are instrumentalized in politics. 

more


The better America (Books)

The power to make someone wait

by Leonie Düngefeld

In her book »The Ungrateful Refugee« Dina Nayeri writes about the arrogance and prejudices of those who have never been forced to leave their home country.

more


Talking about a revolution (Books)

Meeting the whalers

by Marko Martin

Charles King revisits the anthropologist Franz Boas and his comrades in arms who, with their research on the Inuits and the Polynesians, were the first researchers to debunk racist theories.

more


Earth, how are you doing? (I think that ...)

... we should expose International Law as Colonial

by Antony Anghie

“If you believe lawyers and jurists who work in international law, the world has become an increasingly fair place over the last few centuries. […] But international law also has an often overlooked flipside which is dark, violent and misanthropic and hails from its history.”

more


The better America (Topic: Canada)

The other America

by Alan Freeman

In the shadow of its big neighbour the USA, Canada is looking for its place in the world. A reflexion on my country.

more