There is a family of skunks that lives under my potting shed. I'm not sure what generation this little one is, but they've been there for over 15 years. Neither I nor my husband have ever been sprayed. We move slowly and quietly around them, speak to them softly and they seem to know that we won't hurt them. They even brush against my legs like cats do when I'm sitting out in the garden at night! I have to admit, the first time I reached down to pet what I thought was a cat and then heard the little whirring "chirp" they make and realized it was a skunk it scared the you-know-what out of me.
I let them eat the leftover cat food that I put out for the strays and they repay me by eating Japanese Beetles and lots of other insects that would "bug" my garden if not for the skunks.
When the mother skunk first brings them out (she had 4 this year) they don't move without being in constant contact with each other. They look like they're "velcroed" to their Mama's sides...maybe it's the skunk way of holding hands. After about fifteen minutes the babies do begin to move away a bit from their mama, but she doesn't let them out of her sight, and she doesn't let them get more than a few inches away from her. She doesn't let them stay away from her for very long either. A couple of minutes apart and she's chirping and whirring to her babies, who all rush to "velcro" themselves to Mama. The little one in the picture above rejoined his, or her, Mama and siblings shortly after I snapped the picture. (Their little bodies are only about 4" long from tip of nose to the...um...business end, and their tails are only about 2 1/2" to 3" long. When they're grown their bodies are about 12" and their tails are about the same length).
Soon we'll be seeing the new baby raccoons and squirrels. We've already seen the fledgling Stellar Jays, Black Headed Grosbeaks, Nuttall's Woodpeckers, Robins, Northern Flickers, Acorn Woodpeckers, Goldfinches and Purple Finches.
I feel so blessed to live in an area where I can watch and interact with so many of the wildings who graciously share their forest with me.