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Canada's Species   Mammals

Striped Skunk

Mephitis mephitis

Photo:Mont St-Hilaire Nature Center
Striped Skunk. Photo:Mont St-Hilaire Nature Center

This animal needs no introduction as it has found its way into many a camping story. Skunks occur throughout Canada and prefer forested areas but reach their maximum densities in cultivated lands. Although they are slow and are poor climbers they show much confidence when in the presence of a predator. A skunk's weapon is a strong oily musk which it releases from two gland in the anus. It is has been thought that skunks are not capable of spraying if held by the tail, but as many people may attest, this is not true. Skunks can spray distances up to six metres and are quite accurate. Skunks hibernate at first sign of snow in December and emerge sometime in March. They are omnivorous and will feed heavily on plant material. Skunks also eat insects and small rodents.

Map of Striped Skunk in Canada
Distribution of Striped Skunk in Canada

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