striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis mephitis)
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Not confirmed.
CHARACTERISTICS: This species is the size of a house cat, with small
rounded ears and black eyes. The triangular head tapers to a bulbous nose
pad and the tail is long and bushy. The coarse long black fur has a thin
white stripe from the nose to the forehead and a broad stripe from the
crown of the head which may branch at the shoulders, continuing toward
the tail. They have highly developed musk glands. The total length is from
600-700 mm, with males being larger than the females. Breeding is from
February- March, with a litter averaging 5-8 young born in May. The
young may follow the mother single file on hunting trips. They are noc-
turnal, and are most active at dawn and dusk. Longevity is 2-3.5 years,
seldom over 5-6 years in the wild.
DISTRIBUTION: This subspecies of striped skunk is found in the west
half of the state only. This species prefers brushy fields and forest borders.
Deciduous vegetation is preferred to be low, second growth, with more open
areas over dense forests. They are normally found within 2 miles of water.
FOODS: They eat honey, birds (mostly ground-nesting) and their eggs
and only occasionally take ducks and available pheasants. Insects, and
small mammals are used more in the spring and summer, with more plant
matter (fruit) used in the fall and winter. Captured prey is consumed
immediately except caterpillars and toads which are rolled on the
ground to remove chitinous spines, and skin toxins.
Crooked Run Valley