Striped skunk, found in West Yorkshire

Striped skunk, found in West Yorkshire

Pub landlord Dave Bennett was walking his two dogs in Keighley town centre when they shot off to chase a black-and-white animal.

But Jack Russell Chewy and King George Spaniel Tilly got more than they bargained, when they cornered what at first looked like a cat.

Mr Bennett, 59, said: “As soon as I got close I could see it was a skunk. Chewy had it cornered before I got to him and he got sprayed. It smelt awful!

The skunk is thousands of miles from its normal habitat. But RSPCA inspector Dave Holgate who managed to capture the animal without getting sprayed said: “The skunk is in reasonable body condition which makes me think it’s either recently escaped or it’s been dumped.

There are 11 species of skunks, which are divided into four genera: Mephitis (hooded and striped skunks, two species), Spilogale (spotted skunks, two species), Mydaus (stink badgers, two species), and Conepatus (hog-nosed skunks, five species). The two skunk species in the Mydaus genus inhabit Indonesia and the Philippines; all other skunks inhabit the Americas from Canada to central South America.

Skunks were formerly classified as a subfamily within the family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, otters, badgers, and relatives. However, recent genetic evidence suggests that the skunks are not as closely related to the mustelids as previously thought, and are now classified in their own family.

Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus, plus Wikipedia.