Ed Golson Outdoor Education

Striped Skunk

Scientific Name: Mephitis mephitis

Description: Skunks are well known for their characteristic black body and white stripe down the length of their back. They usually grow between 22 and 31 inches long and usually weigh around 6-8 pounds. They have long claws on their front feet to help with digging.

Most skunks die before the end of their first year due to the harsh winters. Skunks in captivity have been known to live up to 15 years.

What's that smell? Of course skunks are very well known for their horrible smelling spray. Skunks rarely use their spray. They usually just show their tail to the predator to scare it away. If the predator still doesn't leave, the skunk will use its spray to blind and irritate the predator long enough to get away. Unfortunately for the skunks, large birds like hawks and owls don't have a sense of smell so they don't mind preying on skunks.

Habitat: Skunks live in many places. They can be found from central Canada down into Northern Mexico. They live in a variety of habitats ranging from woods to grasslands or farmer's fields.

Food: Skunks are omnivores , meaning they eat plants and animals. They eat fruits, nuts, leaves, insects, fish, rodents, and dead animals. What they eat depends mostly on the time of year and what is available.


Click HERE to hear what it sounds like when skunks get into a fight.

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