Too stinkin' cute.
Officers at the Cambridge Police Department in Massachusetts had a surprise rescue mission on their hands when they happened upon two adorable baby skunks.
Catching a whiff of cuteness yet?Giphy
The two tiny kits (like, you-could-fit-each-in-one-hand kind of tiny) had somehow gotten separated from their family. In an interview with The Dodo, Officer Caitlin Russell shared she had been heading back toward her patrol car after an unrelated incident when she saw the orphaned pair, clearly lost.
Russell was initially worried that she might get sprayed. Rightfully so, as skunks can spray as young as 3 weeks old … and let’s just say their control doesn’t automatically kick in. But still, her empathy was already triggered, and outweighed her fear.
“I saw they were alone. I couldn’t walk away,” Russell told The Dodo.
Russell’s instincts were correct—skunk kits are especially defenseless without their mother. Born both blind and deaf, they are completely reliant on Mama Skunk until they are about 3 weeks old. Though these little guys had their eyes open, they were still clearly in need of help.
And I mean, who could just abandon these sweet faces?
Its little feets!
Any worry Russell had soon dissipated as she picked up the skunk babes, who were “totally fine” with her holding them. Not to mention “so stinkin’ cute,” she added.
Russell and another officer (whose name has yet to be released) kept the skunklings safe while they awaited Animal Control.
So far, no spray.
In a plot twist worthy of a Hallmark movie, Animal Control had rescued two other orphaned skunks earlier the same day, thought to be from the same litter. The family was reunited at a wildlife rehab facility and eventually will be released into the wild as one big happy, stinky unit. Yay.
The Cambridge Police Department shared the story in a Facebook post along with the caption, “You never know who you’ll come across while working a shift.”
Though skunks traditionally have somewhat unsavory reputations, that mindset is slowly starting to change. Nowadays skunks are less seen as pests and more so viewed as valuable lawnkeepers by preying on rodents (confession: I was today years old when I learned that skunks aren’t herbivores).
More and more people even enjoy them as pets. According to PBS, 17 states currently allow people to own domesticated skunks, including: Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. PBS added that these pet skunks have undergone a controversial surgical procedure to remove their scent glands, which has been criticized by many as unfair treatment. Sort of like how declawing your cat strips it of its natural defenses. This can be particularly dangerous if Mr. Not-So-Stinky finds his way outdoors.
Still, it’s a good thing that these fetid creatures are getting more love. They definitely deserve it. At Upworthy, we are always on the lookout for feel-good, heartwarming animal stories. This one simply reeks of it.