what smells like a skunk but isn’t

List of Animals Who Spray Smelly Liquids

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Animals: on one hand you have the cute and the cuddly; on the other hand, you have the not-so-cute, especially when they release the most noxious of smells. You can’t blame them though; many of these little stinkers use their smelly weapons in self-defense. Just make sure you don’t bother them. Live and let live is the wisest approach when it comes to some of these critters.

Striped Polecat

Also known as zorrillas, these nocturnal fellows wear a black-and-white suit that causes them to often be confused for skunks. However, they’re definitively not skunks; these little critters are actually members of the weasel family. Like the skunk though they secrete a pungent fluid through their anal glands when they feel the need to defend themselves from dangerous predators. The sprayed fluid smells so bad that polecats have earned the pole position as the smelliest animals on earth.


Of course, Pepe La Peau deserves a place of honor when it comes to stinky secretions. You definitively don’t want to mess with these fellows. The acrid foamy spray that comes out of a special gland found just inside the anal area is so noxious it will stop predators in their tracks. Fortunately, these phlegmatic critters give advanced warning of their intent and won’t waste their fluids unless they have a very good reason for it.


Contrary to what you may think, these fellows with plenty of little kickers aren’t part of the insect family. Despite being land dwellers, they’re actually related to lobsters, crayfish and shrimp. Upon feeling threatened, millipedes may roll up into what looks like a slimy cinnamon bun or attack using defensive, smelly sprays rich in hydrochloric acid. While millipedes don’t typically inspire cuddling, it’s definitively not a good idea to handle them with your bare hands; their secretions can cause chemical burns, skin discoloration and an unpleasant lingering odor.

Bombardier Beetle

As the name implies, these fellows will launch aerial “bombs” with state-of-the-art sound effects and noxious smells that will have you running for cover. As an added bonus, their gaseous sprays reach an astounding temperature of 212 degrees. You’ll definitively know when the spray is being emitted as a loud pop is produced as the gas hits the air followed by the noxious mixture exiting the body. Don’t assume you’re necessarily safe if the beetle missed you the first time; these machine-bomb beetles can actually deliver their toxic bombs numerous times in a row.


You wouldn’t expect a bird to be on the list of animals spewing foul-smelling fluids, but an African bird known as the green woodhoopoe makes an exception to the rule. These tropical feathered fellows will poke their tails out of the nest hole and spray a fluid that smells much worse than those rotten eggs you completely forgot in the fridge. The main objective in this case is to keep many unwanted and dangerous predators away from the nest — and it looks like it works like a charm.

Felix the cat can be cute and cuddly until he decides to mark your furniture with what veterinarian and behaviorist Sophia Yin calls “kitty graffiti.” Unlike other animals who spray in self defense, Puddy Tat shoots the squirt when he feels stressed, marks territory or announces his sexual availability. If you ever wondered what causes that terrible stench when intact male cats urinate, you’ll need to blame the hormone testosterone which makes their urine 10 times stinkier, explains veterinarian Justin Lee.

Animals: on one hand you have the cute and the cuddly; on the other hand, you have the not-so-cute, especially when they release the most noxious of smells. You can’t blame them though; many of these little stinkers use their smelly weapons in self-defense. Just make sure you don’t bother them. Live and let …

Mike Holmes Reveals Five Reasons Why Your Home Might Smell

Sep. 19, 2018 Mike Holmes

Homeowners need to put their senses to work to keep their homes safe and healthy. And I’m not just talking about keeping your eyes peeled for potential hazards. It’s important to train your nose to recognize dangerous odours such as a gas leak or an electrical fire. Hazards like these can be dangerous, so know the specific smells and what to do when you come across them.

1. Skunk Smell

Natural gas stinks; your smoke alarm or CO detector won’t detect it, but your nose will. Utility companies add a strong smell to the naturally odourless gas to make sure that the smell is obvious. It can smell something like a dead mouse or skunk. Should you smell it in your home, you need to act quickly. Don’t use electronics near the suspected leak, or turn lights or appliances on or off; anything that can cause a spark near a gas leak will ignite the house. If possible, turn the gas off at the source. Leave the house and call the utility company. If the leaking natural gas has ignited and is burning, don’t attempt to put the fire out yourself. Leave the house immediately and call 911.

2. Rotten Eggs

Septic gas has a strong, naturally occurring odour that smells like rotten eggs. The smell is hydrogen sulfide, which comes from sewage and can be a sign that there’s a problem with your plumbing. Prolonged exposure of even low levels of hydrogen sulfide can cause health issues such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness and loss of appetite. If you smell it, there’s no need to evacuate your home, but do call a professional plumber to have things checked out.

If your home’s plumbing gets the all-clear and your home still has that rotten egg smell, you may have an issue with toxic drywall. Toxic drywall was made in China and distributed throughout North America from 2001 to 2007. The sulphur in the drywall will off-gas once there’s humidity in the air, which can cause health problems and can also corrode any exposed copper pipes or wiring in your home. If you have toxic drywall in your home, even just a few sheets of it, I recommend tearing it out and having it replaced. And this is not a DIY job; it must be removed by a professional.

3. Smell of Something Burning

You should never ignore the smell of something burning, especially something that smells like burning rubber. Appliances that have a burning smell when they’re on, or even lights in a room that smell like they’re burning, is a sign that something is dangerously overheating with the potential for a fire. Your first step is to go to your breaker box and turn off the circuit you think is causing the problem. Then, call a licensed electrician. If you see flames, leave your house immediately and call 911. And of course, always make sure you have a working smoke alarm on every floor of your home.

4. Mushroom Smell

You might think your nose is playing tricks on you, but a mushroom smell in your home (when you’re not cooking mushrooms!) could be dry rot. Dry rot is caused by a fungus that sucks the structural strength and stiffness out of healthy wood, especially in older homes where wood framing wasn’t pressure treated. Dry rot thrives in high-moisture environments, so it’s important that your home has proper ventilation. If you get that mushroom smell in your home and discover areas of dry rot, you’ll need a qualified mould remediator to get rid of it. Dry rot is progressive; not getting rid of it properly means that it will continue to spread and cause further damage.

5. Musty or Mossy Smell

Mould smells musty, mossy or like mildew. In most cases, you’ll not only get that musty smell, but you’ll also see the black stains on common places like window sills, basements, bathrooms and ceiling corners – anywhere where there’s lots of moisture. If there is a musty smell but you can’t see any stains, you may have mould growing behind your walls. In that case, you’ll need to hire a professional home inspector who uses thermal imaging to see what’s going on behind those walls. If the mould in your home covers an area of 10 square feet or less, you can tackle the issue yourself. Just remember to use the proper protective gear. If the area is larger than 10 square feet, or if there’s sewage involved, bring in a professional remediation company to handle it properly and safely. Mould found in homes usually isn’t toxic, but it still presents a health risk and can cause allergy and asthma symptoms if inhaled.

Images courtesy of The Holmes Group and Getty Images

It’s important to train your nose to recognize dangerous odours such as a gas leak or an electrical fire.