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STRIPED SKUNK

Scientific Name: Mephitis mephitis
Order
Carnivora (carnivores)

Family
Mephitidae (skunks and stink badgers)

Habitat & Range
Skunks are very adaptable creatures that can live in a variety of habitats including mixed woods and brush land. They tend to live near humans since the presence of humans drives away their natural predators. They can be found throughout North America, from central Canada to Mexico.

FIND ME AT EPZ
Name: OLEY (male)
Location: Education Department (behind the scenes)
Born: 05/01/2008
Arrived at EPZ: 06/18/2008
 
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Identification
Striped skunks are unmistakable, with a black body and twin white stripes that originate from the head and end at the tail. They have small pointed heads, short legs and powerful digging claws. Adult specimens weigh an average of 7 pounds and have a body length of 13 to 18 inches. Their long, bushy tail averages 7 to 10 inches. Skunks may first be identified by their scent, an unpleasant odor produced by the anal scent glands when they feel threatened.

Diet
Skunks are omnivores and very opportunistic which lends to their success. Usually they will feed on large insects, grubs and worms as well as mice, frogs and spiders. They are not beyond feeding on carrion and garbage (another reason why they gravitate towards humans).

Reproduction & Lifespan
Mating season occurs during February and March and is the only time that skunks are seen together. Male skunks are polygamous and battle each other over mating rights. Gestation lasts about 2 months and results in 5 to 7 kits.

Striped skunks have an average life span of 3 years in the wild and 10 years in captivity.

Fantastic Fact
You’ve Been Warned
Although they hold enough chemical for 3 shots, skunks prefer not to waste their spray. They will first confront an encroaching animal by flashing their white tail and stomping their feet. If the intruder persists, it can spray its yellow, oily liquid up to 12 feet with devastating accuracy.

 
 
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