Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

Order: Carnivora, Family: Mustelidae

Appearance/Behavior:  The striped skunk is a medium-sized (57 – 80 cm) member of the weasel family.  Its black body is lined with two white stripes that may run from the head to the tail (blue arrow).  Among the skunks visiting the compost piles in this experiment, there is much individual variation in the degree to which the white stripes are expressed, with some skunks appearing almost entirely black. The body is somewhat wedge-shaped, widening towards the rear.  The snout is fairly pointed (red arrow) and the legs are relatively short.  Although skunks forage on the compost independently of conspecifics, they at times will join raccoons or opossums at the piles.

Relative Frequency of Visitation in Study: A regular visitor.

Seasonal Activity: Year-round.

Daily Activity:  All encounters are primarily nocturnal.

Similar Species:  No other wild mammal at the compost study site has such contrasting black and white coloration.  A skunk might be confused with a domestic cat with black and white fur.  The cat, however, would have a rounder face (less pointed snout) and longer legs.

Well-defined Images:

Challenging Images:

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