Geek Trivia

The Only Predator That Regularly Preys On Skunks Is?

The Great Horned Owl
Black Bears
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Answer: The Great Horned Owl

The Great Horned Owl might be a majestic looking bird but upon closer inspection you may find their scent a tad bit disagreeable. Many Great Horned Owls smell absolutely awful and it’s not on account of some sort of avian pheromone, musk glands, or any traditional source of ripe animal scents: it’s because of an odd element in their diet.

What odd dietary element? Great Horned Owls are the only predator known to routinely prey on skunks. Their sense of smell is so poor that they don’t smell how awful the skunk is and simply prey on it like they would any other smaller mammal. In the process, not only do they usually get sprayed by the skunk but they will bring the skunk carcass back to their nest to feed.

In one field study, researchers found the remains of 57 skunks in a single Great Horned Owl nest. With such skunk-heavy diets, many Great Horned Owls will even leave the scent of skunks at other kill sites as some of the oil rubs off their feathers while hunting.

Image courtesy of Davepape.