* Body black, with a narrow white stripe up the forehead and a broad
white area on top of the head.
* Tail bushy, sometimes with a white stripe, 7-10" long.
* Well-developed scent glands; emitting a foul, skunk-like odor (that's
the only way it can be described!).
* Head and body length: 13-18".
* Habitat: Semi-open areas; forests, brush, meadows, suburbs within two
miles of water. Builds dens in ground burrows, under buildings, boulders,
wood and rock piles.
* Range: All of the United States, and most of Canada.
* Behavior: Nocturnal, active year-round, and omnivorous. Feeds on mice,
eggs, insects, grubs, berries, carrion, and garbage. Usually solitary.
Mates February to March.
* Lifespan: 2-3 1/2 years.
* Being sprayed by a skunk is undeniably unpleasant; it has been known
to cause nausea. However, the yellowish, oily liquid sprayed when the
skunk feels threatened can do no lasting or serious harm. Skunks can
hit a target with the liquid from up to 15 feet away. The best thing
to do when your cat or dog has ended up on the wrong side of a skunk
is to wash it in tomato juice - for reasons unknown, this neutralizes
and removes the odor.
* Skunks and other carrion feeders can contract rabies from
feeding on the carrion of an infected animal. Because rabies
is a life-threatening disease in humans, one should avoid contact
with skunks and areas where skunks have been feeding, such as
garbage cans. To reduce the risk of rabies, make sure that your
garbage is not accessible to animals.
Approved by NR