Thursday, 18 Jul 2024

Mystery mammal caught dancing on its front paws confuses wildlife fans

‘What am I looking at?’ Mystery mammal caught dancing in a handstand position on National Park night camera confuses wildlife fans

  • The adorable animal was spotted shuffling about in the handstand position 
  • It was caught on night camera in Saguaro National Park, southern Arizona
  • The National Park Service said people are questioning what on earth it is

A mystery mammal caught dancing on its front paws in an adorable video has baffled wildlife fans after it was shared online by the National Park Service. 

The furry animal was spotted shuffling about in the handstand position on a night camera at Saguaro National Park near Tucson, southern Arizona. 

Balancing on its front paws in a vertical ‘splooting’ posture with its back legs spread apart, the creature moves from paw to paw to stay upright. 

The unusual animal has a squirrel-like body and sports a huge display of feathers splayed in all directions from its raised tail. 

The National Park Service shared the video over the weekend with the caption: ‘You might be asking yourself, “What am I looking at?” That’s fair’. 

The desert denizen appears to be performing an elaborate mating ritual – but the service revealed it’s actually an attempt to scare away predators. 

Praising the adorable animal for ‘dancing like no one is watching’, the service identified the specimen as a spotted skunk. 

Although better known for a somewhat stinkier defense mechanism, skunks also have the ability to perform the eccentric dance when they’re ‘particularly annoyed’, the service said.  

‘More passion, more passion, more passion, more energy, more footwork, more footwork!’ they said as they shared the clip on Facebook. 

‘Too much passion. Pull back. Pull back. Nice footwork. Paw work? You might be asking yourself, “What am I looking at?” That’s fair. 

‘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.’

They added that the spotted skunk is ‘usually polite enough to give a warning before breaking into dance’ by stamping its front feet, hissing and raising its tail.   

‘If they’re particularly annoyed, that’s when they stand upright on their forelimbs and perform the unusual hand-stand dance,’ the service said.  

The furry animal was spotted shuffling about in the handstand position on a night camera at Saguaro National Park (pictured) near Tucson, southern Arizona 

A mystery mammal caught dancing on its front paws in an adorable video has baffled wildlife fans after it was shared online by the National Park Service

‘If the dancing handstand fails to intimidate (wow, nothing?), they will resort to the real room clearers: a pair of scent glands out back that spray a foul-smelling musk.’

Referring to the skunk as a ‘local toot squirrel’, the service advised anyone who comes across one to ‘calmly turn and walk away’.  

‘Avoid doing anything else that could be considered threatening,’ they said. 

‘Yelling more passion, more energy, and more footwork will most likely lead to more spraying.’

The footage, which was ‘liked’ on Facebook 12k times, gained praise from baffled wildlife fans who said they ‘learned a lot’ from the post. 

‘That’s talent!!’ one person said, while another thanked the service for the ‘entertaining and enlightening’ post and others laughed at the ‘toot squirrel’ antics. 

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