Tuesday, March 23, 2010
When you visit Alfred or Alfred University, your tour guide may tell you about the Ceramics department, the Green Monster, even the dreaded food at the Dining halls. However, they always fail to mention the Skunks. It seems that there is a large amount of skunks that have made their home around campus. If you are a student living on or around campus the likeliness that you have had an encounter with a skunk or its smell is almost 100%. Coming back from breaks is especially pleasant because i am usually greeted with the odor of a skunk.
Skunks vary in size, but most are about the size of a house cat, they also appear in a variety of striped, swirled and spotted patterns. They are all black-and-white which makes them easily visible to predators. Skunks usually nest in burrows constructed by other animals. During the coldest winter months they sleep in their burrows for several weeks. Each female gives birth to between 2 and 10 young each year!!! Which explains the large population in Alfred. They are opportunistic eaters (so don't leave your trash around). The good news is skunk spray causes no real damage to its victims, just a lingering smell that can last for days.
In my experience most skunks in Alfred are a little desensitized to humans, i have walked a foot away from one without it even noticing me. Although when provoked, I have seen them spray a kid throwing rocks. There are many skunks around the Pine Hill suites, even an all white one. There are also some around main street including one that lives under the deck of 21. Besides their smell, skunks are harmless and are usually victims of speeding cars. Without the skunks around Alfred, it may be much more relaxing to walk near dumpsters or down a flight of stairs at night, but, it also wouldn't smell like the middle of nowhere which we all know and love!