Striped skunk

Mephitis mephitis





Mephitis mephitis, more widely known as a striped skunk, are found throughout North America and California, except in arid southwestern deserts (1)(2). They are easily recognizable by the two broad white stripes that run down their back, culminating in a single white spot on their head (2). Their body is covered in long, black fur and their bushy tail has occasional white hairs (2)(3). The appearance of white fur varies geographically (3). Male adult striped skunks can reach lengths of 80 cm, while females are generally 15% smaller than males (2)(3). While striped skunks are capable omnivores they are primarily insectivorous (3). M. mephitis are generally not aggressive, however they can spray musk out scent glands, located inside the anal sphincter, when they feel threatened (3).  

(1) Ahlbron, G. (n.d) Life history account for Striped Skunk (pp. 1-2) (United States of America, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Interagency Wildlife Task Group) (M. White, G. Ahlborn Ed.). CA.

(2) Jameson, E. W., Jr., & Peeters, H. J. (2004). Mammals of California (Revised ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

(3) Wade-Smith, J., Verts, B. J. (1982) Mephitis mephitis. Mammalian Species, (173), 1-7.



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