Skunks are mammals native to North America and South America. They are part of the family Mephitidae. Although they resemble the polecat, they are not related. The stink badge is the only known relative of the skunk. When these animals are threatened, they spray a liquid with an unpleasant smell towards the predator. There are several species of skunks, and they vary in appearance. Skunks are omnivorous animals meaning that they feed on both animal and plant material, but the diet varies with the change in season. They are known to eat lizards, salamanders, rodents, larvae, eggs, birds, snakes, grass, and in extreme conditions, they will feed on fungi. In areas populated by humans, skunks are known to visit garbage cans in search of leftovers. In some instances, they may turn into scavengers and feed on carcasses of rodents and birds left by other animals.
Where Are Skunks Found?
The striped skunk is native to North America. It is found throughout the United States, northern Mexico, and southern and central Canada. The hog-nosed and the spotted skunks have a broader range that extends from southern Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. The striped skunk roams across Florida except for the Florida Keys.
Habitat in the Wild
The striped skunk is highly adaptive and shows little discrimination to habitat. It can be found in both urban and rural environments as long as there is a source of water nearby. They do not venture far from their dens. In most cases, they range between a mile or two from the den. They require a sustainable supply of food and cover from predators. Because of the ability to adapt to different environments, they can be found in woodlands, open prairies, grasslands, and urbanized areas.
Where Do Skunks Live?
Skunks live in dens. They use their long claws to dig dens, or they will occupy one vacated by another animal such as the woodchuck or the fox. Above the ground, skunks live in hollow logs, brushes, or woodpiles. It is uncommon to find skunks residing underneath houses, porches, or garages because of their tolerance to the human environment. They use leaves, hay, or dry grass to line the inside of the den. Each den contains at least three chambers with more than five entrances that allow the skunk to escape danger within or outside the den.