Skunks

Skunks

Description

Although the most common fur color is black and white, some skunks are brown or grey and a few are cream-colored. All skunks are striped, even from birth. They may have a single thick stripe across back and tail, two thinner stripes, or a series of white spots and broken stripes (in the case of the spotted skunk). Some also have stripes on their legs.

Size

Average size is between 13-18 inches in length (not including the tail) and weigh up to 8 lbs.

Diet

Skunks are omnivores. They eat a variety of foods including seeds, nuts, fungi, fruit, and insects.

Predation

Some ground carnivores prey on skunks. While the exact number of species that prey on skunks is unknown, red foxes, cougars, coyotes and domestic dogs are among them. These animals tend not to prefer skunk, though, because it is difficult to successfully attack and kill one without being soaked in its pungent natural spray. Most such predators will prey on skunks only if their other options are limited or nonexistent.

Typical Lifespan

Skunks can live up 2-3 years.

Habitat

Striped skunks show little discrimination when it comes to finding a place to live and can be found in both rural and urban areas, as long as a water source is within two miles. Skunks usually do not venture out farther than two miles from their homes, and usually stay in a range between half a mile and one and a half miles from their dens. These animals also require an ample supply of food and cover. Skunks easily adapt to many different habitats such as woods, grasslands, brush, open prairies, and developed areas.

Range

Skunks live all over the Americas, particularly the United States, southern Canada and northern Mexico. They can survive in hot and cold weather, particularly because they live in nests, burrows and other secluded areas.

Life History and Reproduction

Skunks mate in early spring and are polygynous, meaning that successful males mate with more than one female. Before giving birth (usually in May), the female excavates a den to house her litter of four to seven kits.

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