What is the chemical composition of a skunk’s spray?

Mammals Read more from
Chapter Animal World

A giraffe neck has seven vertebrae, the same as other mammals, but the vertebrae are greatly elongated.

The chief odorous components of the spray have been identified as crotyl mercaptan, isopentyl mercaptan, and methyl crotyl disulfide in the ratio of 4:4:3. The liquid is an oily, pale-yellow, foul-smelling spray that can cause severe eye inflammation. This defensive weapon is discharged from two tiny nipples located just inside the skunk’s anus—either as a fine spray or a short stream of rain-sized drops. Although the liquid’s range is 6.5 to 10 feet (2 to 3 meters), its smell can be detected 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometers) downwind.


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