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Eastern Spotted Skunk

Interesting Facts: Skunks are one of the primary vectors of rabies in North America.

Main Characteristics


Eastern Spotted Skunks are small, relatively slender skunks with a weasel-like body shape. They have a body length between 30 and 34 cms (12 - 13.5 inches), a tail length between 17 and 21 cms (6.5 - 8.5 inches) and they weigh between 0.5 and 1 Kg (1 - 2.25 lbs). They have a fine, medium length coat with striking black and white colouration and each individual has different markings. They all usually have a white tip on their tail and a white patch on their forehead. They have short, round ears and small eyes that are set wide apart and low on their face.

Like all skunks, the Eastern Spotted Skunk has well developed anal glands that they emit musk from if they are threatened. These glands contain a "nipple" that allows the skunk to aim its spray accurately at its attackers. Habitat: Eastern Spotted Skunks are found in woodlands, prairies and sometimes rocky areas of eastern and central USA and north east Mexico. They are mainly solitary animals but up to 8 individuals may share a den in winter and their home range is approximately 64 ha. Diet: The diet of an Eastern Spotted Skunk mainly consists of rabbits, small rodents, insects, birds, eggs and seasonal fruits. Breeding

Eastern Spotted Skunks mate during March and April, and occasionally again in July and August to produce a second litter. After a gestation period of 50 - 65 days a litter of young are born. Usually 4 - 5 kits are produced each litter, but it is known that sometimes up to 9 kits are born.

At birth the young are blind and helpless and they are covered in fine white hair. They weigh approximately 9 g (0.3 oz) when they are born and within one month they have their eyes open. They can walk and play when they are approximately 36 days old and they can emit musk at 46 days old. They are weaned when they reach 2 months old and by 3 months they are almost fully grown. Sexual maturity is reached when they are 9 - 11 months old. Predators. Predators of the Eastern Spotted Skunk are humans, dogs, cats, bobcats, foxes, coyotes and owls. To defend themselves against predators they carry out a rapid sequence of handstands which act as a warning device. If this doesn't deter the predator they will drop to all fours and stand in a horseshoe shaped stance and omit a fowl smelling musk, which can be accurately discharge for a distance of 4 - 5 m (13.1 - 16.4 ft).  Subspecies There are 3 subspecies of Eastern Spotted Skunk and these are: Spilogale putorius ambarvalis Spilogale putorius interrupta Spilogale putorius putorius 

Latin Name Spilogale putorius
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location East to Central USA & North East Mexico
Colour Black & White
Length 30 - 34 cms (12 - 13.5 inches)
Tail 17 - 21 cms (6.5 - 8.5 inches)
Weight 0.5 - 1 Kgs (1 - 2.25 lbs)
Life Expectancy

- up to 10Yrs (in Captivity)

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