The Facts

  • Genus: Mephitidae
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  • Location: Mostly in America


The Scoop

A Stinky Defense

The skunk is most famous for its foul-smelling spray. If threatened, the striped skunk fluffs its fur, lifts its tail, and arches its back as a warning. Then… it ejects a foul-smelling liquid at its enemy. There are 11 known species of skunk in the world, with most of these skunk species inhabiting the American continent. Two species are found in Indonesia and the Philippines.  Skunks prefer open woodland and dense shrub and are usually found in burrows constructed by other animals. They also live in hollow logs or even abandoned buildings. The color of the skunk can vary from the typical black and white to grey, cream and even brown. However all skunks are striped and baby skunks are even born with their striped markings regardless of their color. Although skunks have excellent smell and hearing, their vision is very poor and they can only see objects that are right in front of them

Skunks vary in size but most are around the size of a cat. They eat almost everything - fruit and plants, insects, larvae, worms, eggs, reptiles, small mammals, and even fish. Many people consider skunks smelly, obnoxious and therefore should be avoided at all costs. However, these animals have some uses as they feed on insects and rodents. Skunks are not really in danger of being wiped out, because they are capable of defending themselves very well, and they also have the ability to adapt to new surroundings.


Did You Know?

  • A skunk's spray is an oily liquid produced by glands under its large tail.
  • A skunk can send a stinky smelling spray as far as ten feet.
  • Skunk’s spray causes no real damage to its victims, but the horrible smell can last for days- a most unpleasant experience!
  • Baby skunks are born completely toothless and blind.


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