La Apestar Del Zorrillo. . . Will Yet Another Unitarian*Universalist Super Hero Leave His Mark On The U*U World?
Unitarian*Universalists U*U Worldwide can thank Rev. Dr. Timothy W. Jensen aka Rev. Tim Jensen aka The Rather *Too* Eclectic Cleric for inspiring yet another Unitarian*Universalist super hero. Introducing Zorrillo the masked man who can raise a stink like no other super hero, U*U or otherwise! :-)
The following is a corrected and edited version of a comment that I left on David G. Markham's UU A Way Of Life blog in response to Rev. Tim Jensen yet again disregarding his grandmother's very good advice about not getting into a pissing match with a skunk. . .
I am not in fact pissing on myself Tim. Skunks rarely do that. . . No, what skunks do Tim is they have these two little nozzles on either side of their anus aka asshole aka * aka ass-to-risk and, when the two quite straight and narrow streams of rather stinky piss that comes shooting out of those two converging nozzles actually converges in what some people might term a "cross-fire" they create a fine mist of spray that not only causes its intended target to stink to high heaven but causes the surrounding area to smell rather bad for a while.
Please allow Wikipedia to enlighten you Tim -
The notorious feature of skunks is their anal scent glands, which they can use as a defensive weapon. They are similar to, though much more developed than, the glands found in species of the Mustelidae family. Skunks have two glands, one on either side of the anus, that produce a mixture of sulfur-containing chemicals (methyl and butyl thiols (mercaptans)) that have a highly offensive smell that can be described as a combination of the odors of rotten eggs, garlic and burnt rubber. The odor of the fluid is strong enough to ward off bears and other potential attackers, and can be difficult to remove from clothing. Muscles located next to the scent glands allow them to spray with high accuracy as far as 2 to 5 meters (7 to 15 ft). The smell aside, the spray can cause irritation and even temporary blindness, and is sufficiently powerful to be detected by even an insensitive human nose anywhere up to a mile downwind. Their chemical defense, though unusual, is effective, as illustrated by this extract from Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle:
We saw also a couple of Zorrillos, or skunks—odious animals, which are far from uncommon. In general appearance the Zorrillo resembles a polecat, but it is rather larger, and much thicker in proportion. Conscious of its power, it roams by day about the open plain, and fears neither dog nor man. If a dog is urged to the attack, its courage is instantly checked by a few drops of the fetid oil, which brings on violent sickness and running at the nose. Whatever is once polluted by it, is for ever useless. Azara says the smell can be perceived at a league distant; more than once, when entering the harbour of Monte Video, the wind being off shore, we have perceived the odour on board the Beagle. Certain it is, that every animal most willingly makes room for the Zorrillo.
Skunks are reluctant to use their smelly weapon, as they carry just enough of the chemical for five or six uses—about 15 cc—and require some ten days to produce another supply. Their bold black and white coloring however serves to make the skunk's appearance memorable. Where practical, it is to a skunk's advantage simply to warn a threatening creature off without expending scent: the black and white warning color aside, threatened skunks will go through an elaborate routine of hisses, foot stamping, and tail-high threat postures before resorting to the spray. Interestingly, skunks will not spray other skunks (with the exception of males in the mating season); though they fight over den space in autumn, they do so with tooth and claw.
The singular musk-spraying ability of the skunk has not escaped the attention of biologists: the names of the family and the most common genus (Mephitidae, Mephitis) mean "stench", and Spilogale putorius means "stinking spotted weasel". The word skunk is a corruption of an Abenaki name for them, segongw or segonku, which means "one who squirts" in the Algonquian dialect.
Most predatory animals of the Americas, such as wolves, foxes and badgers, seldom attack skunks—presumably out of fear of being sprayed. The exception is the great horned owl, the animal's only serious predator, which, like most birds, has a poor-to-nonexistent sense of smell.