US-Parks.com: America's National Parks and Road Trip Planning Find Your Park Road Trip Activities Nature

Skunk

Scientific Name: Family Mephitidae

Description:

Four species of skunks are known in Colorado: striped, eastern and western spotted, and white-backed hog-nosed. Sometimes skunks are considered to be their own family, separate from the closely related weasels; certainly skunks are unmistakable: all have the familiar warning colors of white on black. The striped skunk (24 to 32 inches long, weighing to nine pounds) is the largest and most widespread. The spotted skunks are the smallest (16 to 20 inches long) and the most weasel-like in movements. The hog-nosed skunk is nearly as large as the striped skunk; no specimens have been reported in the past half-century, and the species may not live in Colorado now.

Range:

The striped skunk is the most widespread, occurring statewide. Spotted skunks occur in rocky foothills, mesas, canyons and along major rivers of the High Plains. The Hog-nosed skunk is known only from the roughlands of southeastern Colorado, where they appear to be rare or perhaps only occasional. This is one of those southwestern mammals (Striped Skunk - Washington DC Library) that may be expected to expand with climatic warming.

Diet:

Skunks are omnivorous, eating carrion, mice (especially nestlings), fruit, insects, larvae, birds and bird eggs. The spotted skunk is the most agile climber, best "mouser" and "birder." Hog-nosed skunks seem to "root" for insect larvae more than the other species, but a shallow, snout-sized "test-hole" is a common sign of skunks in general.

Reproduction:

Western spotted skunks delay implantation of embryo. They mate in autumn and give birth to young in spring. Eastern spotted skunks and striped skunks have a simple nine-week gestation period, breeding in spring. Spotted skunks have four or five young, and striped skunks average seven young.

Featured Outdoor Gear

$162.48 50% off
On days when Mother Nature is intent on throwing us a mean left hook with cloudy skies and diving temps, we stay the...
Price subject to change | Available through Backcountry.com

National Park Spotlight
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Featured Wildlife
Maine Puffins
Maine Puffins


Maine ocean islands provide the only nesting sites for Atlantic puffins in the United States. Eastern Egg Rock in the midcoast region, Seal Island and Matinicus Rock at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, and Machias Seal Island and Petit Manan Island off the downeast coast provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer.