A trail camera captured the bizarre sight of a strange-looking animal which, at first glance, is not obvious what species the creature belongs to.
This past weekend, the National Park Service (NPS) shared footage of a mysterious-looking mammal captured on a remote camera trap in Saguaro National Park in Arizona, U.S. — which turned out to be a spotted skunk doing a handstand.
At first sight, it looks like the unusual animal has a body resembling a squirrel and a huge array of feathers on top of its head.
However, the seemingly bizarre animal captured on the trail camera is simply a spotted skunk in a handstand.
The spotted skunk is seen balancing on its front paws with its back legs splayed in mid-air — with the feathers coming from its raised tail.
“You might be asking yourself, ‘What am I looking at?’ That’s fair,” the National Park Service writes in an amusing caption accompanying the video.
“It’s obviously a skunk doing a moving handstand. You were thinking it was some sort of mask with feathers?
“One of our favorite wildlife captures, this spotted skunk dances like no one’s watching…even when we are.”
A Warning to Predators
According to the NPS, spotted skunks perform these splayed-tail handstand walks as a warning to their enemies to leave them alone.
Animals who dare ignore a spotted skunk’s upside-down headstand dance can end up being the target of the animal’s infamous unpleasant scent.
The NPS explained that the spotted skunk was likely walking on its front paws in the footage in an attempt to scare off predators in the national park.
Skunks are known for their ability to spray a liquid with a strong, repugnant scent from their anal glands — which they often use as a defensive weapon.
“Why the fancy footwork and big skunk energy (smell)? Because it can. Also, you’re too close and it has given you multiple cues to go away. Awkward,” the NPS continues in the humorous caption for the video.”
“The spotted skunk is usually polite enough to give a warning before breaking into dance. They stamp their front feet, raise their tail, and hiss. (Like you before every video call.)
“If they’re particularly annoyed (this call could be an email), that’s when they stand upright on their forelimbs and perform the unusual hand-stand dance.”
Image credits: Header photo via Facebook/NPS.