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Striped Skunk

Photo by Bob Gress

Common Name: Striped Skunk

Scientific Name: Mephitus mephitus

Total Length: 22-32 inches

Tail Length: 8-12 inches

Weight: 4-9 pounds


Comments: Stocky and short-legged, striped skunks have long, black fur with a white head patch that extends down the neck and splits into two stripes as it fans toward the tail. Striped skunks usually live in dens excavated by other mammals. They forage alone at night and are common victims of vehicles. They are normally docile and prefer to retreat rather than fight. If provoked, they face the challenger, bend their back and spray them with a mist of musk from two anal glands causing temporary blindness. They can spray accurately up to 12 feet. Females produce litters of 6-7 kits in spring. They can live up to 5 years in the wild.

Distribution: Striped skunks are found from central Mexico to central Canada. They are found throughout Kansas in woodlands, shrublands, prairies, and urban areas.

Food: Striped skunks feed on insects, mice, rats, bird eggs, turtle eggs, earthworms, frogs, crayfish, fruits, berries, and grain crops.