Striped skunk

Mephitis mephitis

Animals of North America Back
Despite being known for its defense mechanism, skunks will only spray an attacker as a last resort. A skunk’s spray is emitted from scent glands located just inside the anus and can reach up to 8 – 12 feet  away with great accuracy. If sprayed, the target can begin to feel nauseous and have a burning sensation in the eyes and naval cavities. 

Males and females tend to be solitary, coming together just to breed or to den together during harsh weather to conserve heat. So, although not social, mothers will remain with their young for up to a year, while males provide no care for the young. Skunks do not hibernate, but females often remain in their dens throughout winter, males may come out periodically to feed.


Insects, mice, frogs, crayfish, eggs, fruit and carrion

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