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eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius putorius)

Photos

Distribution Map

Distribution Map

Characteristics

This is one of the smallest skunks, (about 1/2 the size of a house cat), with short legs, and a long, bushy tail with a white tip. It has a black coat with 4 broken white stripes, and a white patch on the nose, and front of the ears. The average total length is 470-563 mm average weight being 450-700 grams. This species mates by April, and 2-6 young are born during May or June. The male gives no care to the young. This species is nocturnal, and they climb trees more than other skunks. They are quicker and more alert, also. There is no true hibernation, just short inactive periods in the winter to conserve body fat. Several may den together in the winter. They have a characteristic handstand defense mechanism which makes the skunk appear larger. Underground dens are either excavated or abandoned by other animals and have 2-5 entrances with 1-3 nest chambers.

Distribution

The spotted skunk is found only in the western part of Virginia. This species avoids heavy timber, and wetlands and the most common habitat are forest boarders and brushy fields.

Foods

The diet includes beetles, grubs, bees and honey, mice, moles, rats, chipmunks, bird eggs and fresh carrion. They crack eggs by propelling them against an object with the hind feet.

More Information

For more information, please visit the Virginia Fish & Wildlife Information Service (direct link to species booklet).