Striped Skunk

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Related to Mephitis mephitis: Mephitidae

Striped Skunk

 

(Mephitis mephitis), a predatory mammal of the family Mustelidae. A relatively clumsy short-legged animal, the striped skunk has a body length of 28-38 cm and a tail length of 18.5–44 cm. The animals have a plantigrade walk; the paws have slightly bent claws. The black and white fur is thick, long, and fluffy, especially on the tail. The skunk has special glands under the base of the tail that emit a disagreeable pungent fluid toward a threatening enemy.

The striped skunk is distributed from southern Canada to central America. It is found in a variety of habitats, from forests to open plains and deserts. A solitary animal, it inhabits burrows and various other types of dens; only in the winter do several females share a den. In the northern part of its range the striped skunk spends the winter in hibernation. The animal is active at dusk and through the night. Its diet consists of rodents, birds, bird eggs, insects, and insect larvae. Four to ten young are born in late winter or in the spring. The striped skunk is commercially hunted and bred in captivity for its fur. The animal is sometimes destructive to the bird population.

REFERENCE

Zhizn’zhivotnykh, vol. 6. Moscow, 1971.

I. I. SOKOLOV [23–1596–]

References in periodicals archive ?
Trap success of striped skunks, Mephitis mephitis, is influenced by variables such as year, month, weather, and sex of the animal.
During the fall and winter of 2000-2001, raccoons Procyon lotor, Virginia opossums Didelphis virginiana, and striped skunks Mephitis mephitis were live-trapped on an 8 X 8 grid (traps spaced at 230 m intervals) at the Ames Plantation in Fayette and Hardeman counties in western Tennessee.
gray foxes Urocyon cinereoargenteus, striped skunks Mephitis mephitis, raccoons Procyon lotor, and feral cats; Crooks and Soule, 1999).
Mephitis mephitis varians Gray, 1837, striped skunk.
Up to 11 species of mammalian carnivores occur in forested ecosystems of Grand Canyon National Park: cougar Puma concolor, American black bear Ursus americanus, coyote Canis latrans, bobcat Lynx rufus, gray fox Urocyon cinereoargenteus, American badger Taxidea taxus, raccoon Procyon lotor, striped skunk Mephitis mephitis, western spotted skunk Spilogale gracilis, ringtail Bassariscus astutus, and long-tailed weasel Mustela frenata.
The western spotted skunk Spilogale gracilis and the striped skunk Mephitis mephitis occur sympatrically throughout much of western North America (Rosatte and Lariviere, 2003).
A directional loop antenna, mounted to a vehicle roof-top and rotated from within, was used to track striped skunks, Mephitis mephitis (Verts, 1963).