Striped Skunk

The Striped Skunk, a member of the weasel family, is found from southern Canada to northern Mexico. It is a small animal averaging from 22 – 77 cm (9 – 30 in) in length and weighing 1.8 – 4.5 kg (4 – 10 lb).

Although the usual colour is black with a white strip there are many variations to this. Thirteen subspecies of the spotted skunk are recognized. They have few natural predators with the exception of birds of prey, especially Great Horned Owls.

Skunks are true omnivores eating a variety of food including insects, mice, shrews, eggs and plant material. They are normally solitary animals except for females with young. They live in dens or under buildings. In winter they “den up” in larger groups of up to 20 animals.

Skunks have two well developed scent glands located on each side of the anus. Each contains about 15mm of a thick, oily, yellowish, foul spelling liquid which can be sprayed up to 3 metres (10 feet). However, skunks are not aggressive and avoid using this weapon unless provoked.

Striped Skunk @ Safari Niagara

  • Safari Niagara is home to two Striped Skunks named Calvin and Dolce.
  • You can see our Striped Skunks as part of our Zooniversity Show.

Scientific Classification

Species:M. mephitis

Did you know?

  • In New York State, Spotted Skunks are protected by law because they aid farmers by eating large numbers of hop grubs.