Basically, people know that skunks stink. And most people associate skunks with rabies…even though humans are much more likely to contract rabies from the bite of another rabid mammal, such as a bat, cat, or dog.
What would you do if you encountered a skunk while out on a casual day hike? Or what would you do if a skunk casually cruised into your campsite? If you don’t know much more about skunks beyond the above two common myths, read my article on the About.com Survival Skills website:
In the process of writing the article, I became more interested in what goes into a skunk’s stink. Like many other people, I originally thought that skunks spray urine, but I found out that they actually produce sulfurous chemicals containing thiols in anal scent glands. Thiols also give garlic and onions their strong odors. Go figure.
This PBS video, a portion of a longer segment on skunks, offers a brief, yet interesting explanation of the chemistry behind a skunk’s stink: