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Uploaded on on Jul 16, 2021


Skunks are mammals belonging to the Mephitidae family that live in North and South America. Skunks are linked to polecats and other members of the weasel family, although stink badgers are their closest Old World cousins. The animals’ capacity to spray a liquid with a strong, disagreeable odor is well-known. Skunks come in a variety of colors and patterns, ranging from black and white to brown, cream, and ginger, but they all have a warning coloring.

Description of the Body

Skunks range in length from 15.6 to 37 inches (40 to 94 cm) in weight from 1.1 pound (0.50 kg) (spotted skunks) to 18 pound (8.2 kg) (hog-nosed skunks). Their bodies are somewhat long, with short, well-muscled legs and long front claws for digging. On each foot, they have five toes.

Although black and white is the most prevalent fur color, some skunks have brown or grey fur, and a few have cream fur. Even from birth, all skunks are striped. A single broad stripe over the back and tail, two thinner stripes, or a succession of white spots and broken stripes are all possibilities (in the case of the spotted skunk).


Skunks are omnivores who eat both plant and animal matter, and their diets fluctuate with the seasons. Insects, larvae, earthworms, grubs, rodents, lizards, salamanders, frogs, snakes, birds, moles, and eggs are among the foods they consume. Berries, roots, leaves, grasses, fungus, and nuts are other popular foods for them.


Skunks often look for rubbish left by humans in populated places. Skunks are occasionally seen as scavengers, consuming bird and rodent corpses abandoned by cats or other animals. A skunk may find its way into a garage or basement where pet food is kept by pet owners, particularly cat owners. Skunks are known for digging holes in lawns in order to find grubs and worms.

Skunks are one of the most common honeybee predators, and their thick hair protects them from stings. The skunk scratched the beehive’s front and ate the guard bees that came out to investigate. Mother skunks are known to teach their offspring this habit. Skunks also dig out yellowjacket (small hornet) nests in California during the summer, when the compacted earth under oak trees dries up and cracks apart, allowing the yellowjackets to establish their nests underground.


When not mating, skunks are nocturnal and solitary creatures, however in the coldest areas of their habitat, they may congregate in communal burrows for warmth. They hide in burrows during the day, which they can dig with their strong front claws. Throughout the year, males and females share overlapping home ranges of 2 to 4 km2 (0.77 to 1.54 sq mi) for females and up to 20 km2 (7.7 sq mi) for males.

Skunks do not hibernate, however they do den up for long periods of time throughout the winter. They are, however, mostly passive and only eat once in a while, as they are in a dormant state. During the winter, several females (up to 12) snuggle together; males often den alone. Frequently, the same winter den is utilized.

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