Striped Skunk - The Striped Skunks of British Columbia, Canada. Skunks in BC


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide


Striped Skunk
Mephitis mephitis


Description - The size of this noxious odoured creature is similar to that of a housecat. The strped skunk has a small, black head with a white stripe between the eyes and two broad white stripes which meet at the shoulders of its black back. The tail is black with a white tip or fringe.

Distribution - The striped skunk prefers the desert, woodlands, grassy plains and suburbs. It occurs throughout the interior and southern tier of Canadian provinces and all of America.

Biology - The unique characteristic of the skunk is its ability to spray a fetid, oily, yellowish musk 10-15 inches. This fluid in the eyes causes intense pain and a fleeting loss of vision. Ammonia or tomato juice are best to remove the odour.

The pelt is not highly valuable but the musk, once the odour is removed, is used as a perfume base because of its clinging quality. The skunk is an omnivore who feeds on a wide variety of vegetable matter, insects and grubs, small mammals, the eggs of ground nesting birds and amphibians. In mid-May 4-7 young are born. Although they do not hibernate, during the lean winter months they may become temporarily dormant. The Striped Skunk is the main carrier of rabies in the U.S.A. Its chief predator is the Great Horned Owl.

Skunk Tracks Tracks - The skunk leaves a distinct pattern which is easily identified. The smaller front feet are pigeon-toed and placed just ahead of the larger rear feet while in motion. This five-toed creature has long claws which are usually evident in the print.

Straddle: 7 - 10 cm (2.8 - 4 in)
Stride: 10 - 20 cm (4 - 8 in)
Track: Front - 3.5 cm (1.4 in) long / 3 cm (1.2 in) wide
Track: Rear - 5 cm (2 in) long / 3.5 cm (1.4 wide)


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Striped Skunk - The Striped Skunks of British Columbia, Canada. Skunks in BC