Apr 20

As the spring blossoms fill the air with their sweet scents, unfortunately ARKive’s smelliest species are threatening to take over your senses! Gas masks at the ready.

Stinky spray!

Striped skunk photo

Yes you guessed it, number one is the striped skunk! When threatened it can squirt foul-smelling fluid from scent glands, as far as 2-3 metres. So stand back because you’ll be hit by the smell of rotten eggs, garlic and burnt rubber. Errrgh!

Chundering chums

Photo of American black vultures feeding on dead alligator

One animal you might not want to startle, the American black vulture! This charming creature will vomit up putrid-smelling semi-digested meat if frightened to lighten their weight for a speedier exit.

Deadly scent

Photo of a titan arum in flower

Try fitting this one in your garden! The corpse flower, at a whopping 3.5m tall, emits a rancid smell of rotting meat which can be detected up to a kilometre away. This is to attract pollinating insects, which are actually attracted to this stench! Definitely not one for your flower bed.

Smelled but not seen

Photo of a European wolverine up a tree

Thank your lucky stars this critter is so elusive! Unlike its X-men character, the wolverine is a stink-meister due to its anal musk glands used for defence and scent marking.

It’s all in the name…

Stinkhorn photo

This fetid fungus, the stinkhorn, gets its name from the foul-smelling slime that coats its fruiting body. For some strange reason this attracts insects which gobble up the slime, providing the stinkhorn the perfect way to spread its spores.

2 for 1

Photo of a pair of male muskox

The beastly male muskox is particularly smelly during the rutting season. The female goes mad for the smell of the male’s urine which he uses to mark his territory. Unfortunately for him, the urine can get matted in his hairy belly, causing him to carry this sickening stench around with him. Lucky ladies!

A stink that will bug you

Portrait of a green shield bug

The ghastly green shield bug is one of many species more commonly known as stink bugs. Old stinky here likes to exude a sticky chemical from the sides of its body to ward off enemies.

Don’t play with the devil!

Tasmanian devil photo

I wouldn’t follow in this fiend’s footsteps. The Tasmanian devil releases a pungent odour from its ano-genital scent gland when stressed. Along with its chilling nocturnal screeches, this creature certainly is demonic!

Rank Rafflesia

Rafflesia kerrii bloom

Don’t waste your pennies on this plant! Rafflesia’s giant flower is only open for four days, after which it shrivels into a black slimy mess. Even when it is open it reeks of decaying flesh, so maybe you’re better off sticking to carnations!

Excuuuuuse me!

Zorilla photo

This may look sweet, but it’s definitely not sweet smelling! The zorilla is ARKive’s smelliest species, and most of you have probably never heard of it! It squirts a rancid liquid from its scent glands when in conflict or disturbed. Some native African tribes are even said to have used these secretions to mask their own smell when hunting. We doubt this perfume will fly off the shelves any time soon!

Have we forgotten any? Let us know if you’ve smelled any species recently that have wrinkled your nose!

Rebecca Sennett and Rebecca Taylor, ARKive Media Research Assistants

  • logan olsen (April 21st, 2011 at 2:48 am):

    smilly flower