"What am I looking at?" – National Park camera catches curious creature cavorting in handstand

Eastern Spotted Skunk doing handstand before spraying
The video proves that wildlife really does dance like no one's watching (Image credit: Stan Tekiela Author / Naturalist / Wildlife Photographer)

A webcam at Saguaro National Park has picked up some curious capers from local wildlife in the form of a spotted skunk dancing in an enviable handstand.

The video, which you can watch below, was posted on Facebook over the weekend after park officials caught the late night acrobatics when reviewing the footage.

"You might be asking yourself, "What am I looking at?" That's fair. It's obviously a skunk doing a moving handstand," write the authors of the post.

"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."

The post explains that handstands are a display of intimidation that skunks usually employ before spraying an aggressor, if stamping their feet, hissing and raising their tail hasn't worked. If their impressive bottom-up display doesn't scare away the enemy, skunks will resort to spraying the offender from its anal scent glands.

Saguaro National Park, named for the giant cacti that is the universal symbol of the American west, straddles the town of Tucson, Arizona, and is home to four types of skunk. The Western Spotted Skunk captured in the video is the smallest skunk in the southwest and the only one known to climb trees. It is easily distinguishable from other skunks by its small size and unique spotted markings.

Park officials remind hikers and campers that if you are approached by a skunk on the trail, you should turn around calmly and walk away.

"Avoid doing anything else that could be considered threatening. Yelling more passion, more energy, and more footwork will most likely lead to more spraying."

If you are unfortunate enough to get sprayed by a skunk, it might be accompanied by some uncomfortable stinging of your skin and eyes, but this should quickly wear off. If you are experiencing severe symptoms for a prolonged period of time, seek medical advice. The best thing you can do if you get skunked is to wash as quickly as you can. Read more in our article about what to do if you get sprayed by a skunk.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.