Even wonder who is the true founder of those cool and slick breakdance moves? Well, I did an extensive research over the net and finally found the true legend- the grand master of breaking…
Well, it seems like we human have a lot in common with our friends in the animal kingdom. Besides living on the same green planet and breathing the same polluted air, we share a common passion for dance!
The Spilogale putorius, or commonly known as the Eastern Spotted Skunk is an omnivorous mammal of the Skunk family- Mephitidae. Although the Eastern Spotted Skunk appeared small and vulnerable to attack by larger predators, it has its unique set of defense mechanism to survive attack from larger foes and this includes lifting its hindquarters high up in the air and doing a handstand!!
The Eastern Spotted Skunk is easily recognizable by its distinctive broken white strips that run along each side of its body, giving it a spotted look. Weighing between 2.5 -14 pounds and with a body length of approximate 19 -25 inches (incuding tail length), the Eastern Spotted Skunk is about the size of a cat. It can be found in Northern American and Southern Mexico. The Eastern Spotted Skunk is famous for its acrobatic ability and is the most agile skunk species among the family of Mephitidae.
When feeling threatened, the Eastern Spotted Skunk will run up to the enemies, stopping in its track suddenly and lift up its hindquarters to do a handstand. When in this posture, the anal sac of the Eastern Spotted Skunk is directed towards the enemies, preparing to spray its foe with a strong and odorous scent (from musk glands) that will cause effects such as temporary blindness and vomiting. This gives the skunk enough time to escape or in most cases, the predators will be driven away by the scent. The Eastern Spotted Skunk is reputed to be able to hold this position for more than a minute! Much longer than many of the amateur breakers from our species!
As a matter of fact, the handstand posture adopted by the Eastern Spotted Skunk not only served as a warning sign for the predators, but also makes the skunk appeared larger than it is. This posture also allowed the mammal to monitor its enemies movement at all times.
In addition, the Eastern Spotted Skunk also employ strategies such as hissing, stomping its feet or running away at the first sight of foes to survive predation by other animals.
Links to secondary source
Personal account of the spotted skunk breaking: http://www.jstor.org/pss/1373688
Johnson, Charles E. (1921). The “hand-stand” habit of the spotted skunk. American Society of Mammalogists, 2(2), Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/pss/1373688
Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. (n.d.). Eastern spotted skunk. Retrieved from http://www.outdooralabama.com/watchable-wildlife/what/mammals/Carnivores/ess.cfm
National Geographic. (n.d.). Skunk. Retrieved from http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/skunk/
PBS. (n.d.). Is this Skunk? mephitidae- this family stinks!. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/episodes/is-that-skunk/mephitidae-this-family-stinks/4572/
“Diorama 3:Skunk handstand”, by mcslo. Mcslo Galleries: Flickr. URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcslobodian/2342632406/
“BBC Wildlife- Weird Nature- Spotted skunk handstand” by BBC Worldwide Channel, 16 January 2009. URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTQc-WEb5h8&feature=fvw (accessed on 26 March 2010).
Online Journal Articles
Bullock, Lindsay K. (2008). Eastern spotted skunk (spilogale putorius). MAMMALS OF MISSISSIPPI, 12(1 -6), Retrieved from http://www.cfr.msstate.edu/wildlife/mammals/pdf/Spottedskunk.pdf
Kinlaw, Al. (1995). Spilogale putorius. Mammalian Species, 511. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/pss/3504212
McPeake, Rebecca. (n.d.). Dealing with skunks and odor abatement. Agriculture and Natural Resources, Retrieved from http://www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/publications/PDF/FSA-9101.pdf