A mountain lion near Calgary, Canada, discovered this week that not all small critters are to be messed with.
The accompanying footage shows the mountain lion approaching a skunk on a deserted gravel road. But in a quick turn of events the skunk, with its tail flared, becomes the pursuer. It chases the large cat into the bushes and stalks the roadway as if to show, emphatically, who's in control.
(Quite likely, a pungent odor released by the skunk had something to do with the cat's wariness.)
The peculiar confrontation occurred Tuesday morning. Video was uploaded to YouTube by Greg Shyba, the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area CEO.
A shorter clip was shared to Facebook by CBC Calgary, under the title, "A skunk with spunk."
This, in turn, was shared by a Facebook page devoted to P22 Mountain Lion of Hollywood, beneath the caption, "What a scaredy-cat! Those Canadian cougars need to toughen up."
Mountain lions, also called cougars and pumas, will occasionally prey on skunks, but that would seem to be as a last resort.
Wrote Earthtouch News, about the Calgary confrontation:
"It’s all a remarkable demonstration of the skunk’s formidable anti-predator arsenal – and the feisty confidence it lends the animal in confrontations with potential enemies. Obviously, the potent musk the skunk can deploy from as far as six meters is the genuine humdinger among its defenses: besides its infamous odor, the musk can also cause burning or temporary blindness when sprayed into an attacker’s eyes.
"Much of the time, though, the skunk doesn’t actually have to resort to chemical warfare: its bold, contrasting monochrome pelt advertises the threat of that unholy emission, and other animals soon learn to associate the two.”
Presumably, after Shyba continued down the road, both critters went their separate ways.
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