Did you know skunks aren't the only animals that spray stinky stuff? Let's look at a few.
Millipedes. Although centipedes can inject venom through their fangs, millipedes are docile and do not bite. However, many of them compensate for this by squirting out a stinky toxin. They can shoot this stuff up to 32 inches (80 cm), and it can cause irritation of the skin. That, along with the smell, makes this behavior an effective predator defense.
Bombardier beetles. When threatened, these beetles stick their rump in the air and squirt out a noxious fluid that is boiling hot. Through a series of chemical reactions, the nasty stuff is at about 212 degrees F (100º C) when it gets squirted. So, it burns the skin, in addition to being foul smelling. There are more than 500 species of bombardier beetles.
Green woodhoopoes. This one is a bird, native to sub-Saharan Africa. The woodhoopoe builds nests in the hollows of trees. Whenever it is threatened, the bird sticks its rear end out the hole, raises its tail, and squirts a stream of stuff that smells like rotten eggs. This nasty substance contains dimethyl sulphide, which explains the rotten egg smell.
Finally, the African polecat (also called the zorilla), which sometimes gets the dubious honor of being called the smelliest animal on Earth. These animals resemble a skunk, but they are actually a type of wild ferret that lives in Africa. Just like the skunk, the polecat squirts a nasty fluid when threatened, and its black and white colors warn away predators. This could be considered an example of convergent evolution, in which two types of animals that are not closely related have evolved the same features that accomplish the same function.
Below is an African polecat (remember, this is NOT a skunk).
- African Polecat - DepositPhotos
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