Striped Skunk

Scientific Name: 
Mephitis mephitis
Bat Habitat Range
Range: 
Throughout much of North America, from central Canada through most of the U.S., and south into northern Mexico.
Habitat: 
Usually found within two miles of water, skunks prefer a mix of habitats such as woods, grasslands, and farmland, but are often found in suburban areas due to the abundance of buildings that provide cover.
Lifespan: 
90% of skunks die in their first winter, beyond that the average is 3-6 years; in captivity the average lifespan is 10 years but they have been known to survive for up to 15 years.
Diet: 
Insects make up approximately 70% of a skunk’s diet, however they adjust their diet seasonally to a wide variety of items including insects, grubs, small mammals, birds, eggs, crustaceans, fruits, grasses, leaves, buds, grains, berries, nuts, carrion, bees and ants.
Reproduction: 
Sexually mature at about 10 months. Females have 1 litter per year; gestation is 63-77 days with the litter size 1-10, young are weaned at about 2 months.
Behavior: 
Striped skunks are nocturnal, emerging from underground burrows at dusk in search for food. Both males and females undergo periods of inactivity from November to March. Males are solitary.
At OBC: 
Sebastian was born in September 2011. He was bred for the pet trade and came to us as a rescue from a home that was no longer able to care for him.
Communication: 
Striped skunks not only communicate using scent but also visually by raising their fur and body postures. Skunks have a good sense of hearing, but their vision is poor. Mostly silent, but they do make a variety of sounds such as churring, hisses and screams.
Other: 
Striped skunks usually do not discharge the foul smelling contents of their scent glands unless mortally threatened. When threatened, striped skunks raise the tail, stomp the feet, do fake charges and if needed, turn in a U-shape (with head and rump facing the threat) and spray their aggressor with the noxious fluid stored in their anal glands. The spray may cause nausea while also burning the eyes and nasal cavities. (It may cause temporary- but not permanent blindness as natural tears quickly remove the chemicals from the eyes.)
Predators: 
Due to their offensive odor, skunks are rarely preyed upon by mammals, instead they are eaten primarily by large birds such as great-horned owls and red-tailed hawks.

Printable Information: 
© 2012 Organization for Bat Conservation
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