As their name suggests, striped skunks are black with a distinctive white stripe down their sides to the base of their tails. Striped skunks are solitary and crepuscular animals, meaning that they come out alone at dawn, dusk and into the night, to hunt and forage for food. During the day, they rest in burrows that they dig with their powerful front claws or that they find abandoned by other animals.
The skunk is, perhaps, most renowned for its ability to produce a foul-smelling spray which it uses as a predator-deterrent. This spray is an oily liquid that is produced in the glands under the skunk’s tail. Although they hold enough chemical for 3 shots, skunks prefer not to waste their spray. They will first confront a potential threat flashing their white tail and stomping their feet. If the intruder persists, it can spray its yellow, oily liquid up to 12 feet with devastating accuracy. The spray doesn’t cause any real damage, but the smell is potent, uncomfortable and may linger for days. The scientific name for skunk (mephitis) actually derives from the Latin word Mephit, meaning bad odour!
North America and Canada
Woodland, scrubland, forests and grassy plains
Insects, small mammals, reptiles, seeds, berries, leaves, roots