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Skunk (Striped)

Mephitis mephitis
Skunk (Striped)

Range

The striped skunk occurs from Canada south throughout the United States.

Habitat

The skunk can be found in many habitats including; forests, grasslands, desert, and developed communities.

Body Traits

Skunks have a small, black head with a white stripe between their eyes. Two white stripes run down the sides of its black back out onto its bushy tail. They are about 2.5 feet long and can weigh up to 15 pounds. Females are smaller. Skunks have glands underneath their tails (anal glands) from which they can spray a toxic musk at predators. This spray is so strong that it can cause pain and temporary blindness if it gets in the eyes. It also sticks to whatever it hits and the strong smell can linger on its target for months. The striped skunk is the main carrier of rabies in the U.S.

Habits

The skunk is active at night (nocturnal).

Diet

The skunk is an omnivore, eating plants, insects, small animals, and eggs.

Predators

Its chief predator is the great horned owl.

Reproduction

Females are pregnant for just over 2 months (gestation). They have 4-7 young in mid-May. They do not hibernate, but during extremely cold winters may not move at all (dormant) until the cold snap passes.

Lifespan and/or Conservation Status

They can live 2-3 years in the wild.

Skunk (Striped)
baby striped skunk

Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Subphylum: Vertebrata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Carnivora

Suborder: Caniformia

Family: Mephitidae

Genus: Mephitis

Species: M. mephitis

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