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Family : Mephitidae


  • Species vary in length from 15 1/2- to 27 1/2" and their weight ranges from .5kg to 10kgs
  • Reasonably elongated body, muscular legs and long front claws that enable them to dig
  • Most common colour of fur is black and white
  • All skunks are striped – even from birth – although the pattern of the stripes varies from species to species
  • Skunks have extremely good sense of smell and hearing but poor vision
  • Skunks are found from Canada, through the USA and in to South America


  • Skunks usually breed in early spring
  • Gestation is about nine weeks
  • Skunks usually have just one litter per year and usually produce three or four ‘Kits’ per litter
  • ‘Kits’ eyes do not open until they are about 3 weeks old.
  • ‘Kits’ are weaned at about eight weeks
  • In the wild Skunks live for between 5 and 6 years but this can be much longer in captivity.


  • Skunks are omnivores but mostly eat meat – earthworms, insect larva and small reptiles. They will also eat wild fruit and seeds if necessary.
  • Skunks have been known to forage through household garbage in urban areas.
  • Skunks are nocturnal and spend their days huddled up in burrows they have dug – or man-made burrows such as drainage ditches.
  • They live in open grassland, woodland areas or in wood piles.
  • Skunks are best known for emitting an extremely strong and unpleasant smell but they only do this under provocation such as threat of attack.  The scent is discharged as an atomised spray and if it reaches the intended victims eyes can cause temporary blindness.
  • Skunks do not hibernate in the winter but they do become less active and feed less often


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