The Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) is a small, nocturnal mammal known for its distinctive black and white coloration and its infamous defense mechanism: a powerful and pungent spray. Visit our North American Natives exhibit to observe these intriguing creatures up close. Let’s explore their diet, habitat, size, and conservation status, as well as some fascinating facts that make the Striped Skunk a truly unique species.
Striped Skunks are omnivorous, with a diet consisting of a wide variety of foods. They primarily feed on insects, grubs, and other invertebrates, but also consume small mammals, birds, eggs, and amphibians. Additionally, they eat fruits, berries, nuts, and other plant materials, depending on the season and availability. Their diverse diet allows them to adapt to a range of environments.
Striped Skunks inhabit a variety of environments across North America, from southern Canada to northern Mexico. They can be found in grasslands, forests, agricultural areas, and even urban settings. Striped Skunks prefer habitats with ample shelter, such as hollow logs, rock piles, and abandoned burrows, where they can hide from predators and rear their young.
Size and Weight
Striped Skunks are small, stocky mammals, with a body length typically ranging from 22 to 30 inches (56 to 76 cm), including their bushy tail. They generally weigh between 4 to 10 pounds (1.8 to 4.5 kg), with males being larger and heavier than females.
The Striped Skunk is currently listed as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Their population is considered stable across most of their range, although they may face local threats such as habitat loss, vehicle collisions, and persecution due to their reputation for carrying rabies and producing foul odors.
Visit the Striped Skunk at the Abilene Zoo
During your visit to the Abilene Zoo, be sure to stop by our Elm Creek exhibit to observe the captivating Striped Skunk.