Striped Skunk

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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

I. I. SOKOLOV [23–1596–]

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Available literature on the specific toxic effects of striped skunk spray in humans is very rare, aside from the expected anecdotal comments about its repulsive odor and resultant success as a deterrent.
(1993) was 1.3% divergent from the other hooded skunk sequences of this study, and the striped skunk sequences from Dragoo et al.
Other species detected using these methods included raccoons, opossums, domestic dogs, squirrels, eastern cottontails, striped skunks, turkey vultures (Cathartes aura), black vultures (Coragyps atratus), a woodchuck, a domestic cat, a wild turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), and a nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus).
While the striped skunk has essentially stumbled into its questionably good fortune of human-altered habitat, the northern raccoon has out-andout purposefully exploited it.
Movements, activity patterns and denning habits of the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) in the mixed grass prairie.
Other species of skunks typically show patterns of larger home range size in males (e.g., LariviEre and Messier, 1998b, Mephitis mephitis; Lesmeister, 2007, Spilogale putorious); however, Bixler and Gittleman (2000) found no difference in male and female striped skunk home range sizes in eastern Tennessee, U.S.A.
Habitat (expected) Mammal Woodland Orchard Arable Suburban Black-tailed 40 (35.6) 180 (139.9) 370 (377.9) 59 (95.7) jackrabbit California 17 (16.2) 68 (63.6) 163 (171.8) 47 (43.5) ground squirrel Virginia 9 (13.5) 66 (53.0) 126 (143.2) 45 (36.3) opossum Domestic cat 13 (10.9) 65 (42.7) 87 (115.3) 33 (29.2) Raccoon 18 (10.1) 42 (39.9) 100 (107.7) 25 (27.3) Striped skunk 16 (6.7) 25 (26.5) 64 (71.6) 18 (18.1) Western gray 19 (3.1) 12 (12.3) 19 (33.2) 7 (8.4) squirrel Rat (Norway 3 (2.5) 17 (9.7) 21 (26.2) 4 (6.6) and Roof) Domestic clog 3 (1.2) 11 (4.5) 6 (12.2) 1 (3.1) Black-tailed 10 (0.8) 4 (3.0) 0 (8.2) 0 (2.1) cleer Reel fox 1 (0.4) 2 (1.7) 4 (4.7) 1 (1-2)
Nine raccoons (Procyon lotor), 6 Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana), and 1 striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) collected from Keith County, Nebraska were examined for helminth parasites.
Here, I report an observation of a Ringtail scavenging on a Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis).