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Striped Skunk
Photo: Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis.
Striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis
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Where are they found? North America

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Perhaps because skunks are primarily nocturnal, they are known to most Canadians by reputation more than by first-hand experience. The animal's best known feature is its ability to discharge twin streams of musky fluid from the anal orifice. It does this with uncanny accuracy when it feels threatened. They can aim fairly reliably to a distance of 4 m (13 ft.) or more. The popular notion that skunks cannot eject their musk if they are lifted off the ground by the tail is mistaken, the factoid is not true.

Skunks eat a wide variety of foods. Insects, small rodents, birds, carrion, fruit and vegetable matter are the principal food items. While skunks don't hibernate, they usually den-up and sleep for long periods to avoid foul weather.

Skunks have few natural enemies; the Great Horned Owl is the main one. Other carnivores tend to avoid them unless they are desperate for food.

The striped skunk is found throughout southern Canada, the United States and northern Mexico.


More Images
Photo: Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis. Photo: Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis. Photo: Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis. Photo: Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis. Photo: Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis. Photo: Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis. Photo: Striped Skunk, Mephitis mephitis.


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Do You Know What I'm Saying?

Would you understand a skunk's warnings, or would you get sprayed?
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