Other names: Skunk
Latin name: Mephitidae
size: 30 - 50cm
mass: 1 - 4kg
Older: 3 - 6 years
Appearance: black and white coat
Sexual dimorphism: No
Nutrition type: Omnivore (omnivor)
food: Hare, frog, mouse, snail, insects, nuts, fruits
distribution: North America
original origin: unknown
Sleep-wake rhythm: twilight and nocturnal
habitat: Steppes, semi-deserts
natural enemies: Big cats, bears
sexual maturity: from the second year of life
mating season: in principle possible all year round
gestation: 60 - 70 days
litter size: 3 - 5 cubs
social behavior: Loners
Threatened with extinction: No
Further profiles of animals can be found in the Encyclopaedia.
Interesting about the skunk
- Skunks or skunks are predators and are counted among the martens. Of these, however, they differ greatly in physique, because they have no elongated, but a broad and stocky trunk and a bushy tail. Together with the Mardern they have the short legs and the pointed muzzle.
- As predators, they mainly feed on rabbits, rodents, birds, snakes, lizards and insects, but in summer they also eat vegetable foods such as nuts, fruits and tubers.
- The skunk is only native to America, where it is found in all countries between southern Canada and northern Mexico. Some species also occur at the southern tip of the American continent. The skunk lives in semi-deserts, steppes and scrubland in underground caves, which it either digs with its powerful claws itself or takes over from other animals such as ground squirrels, marmots or badgers. Skunks are not shy and like to stay close to people.
- In total there are nine different types of skunks that live on the ground as predominantly nocturnal animals in family groups and in fixed areas. Their territory they mark with feces. Only one species, the so-called Spotted Skunks, can climb and stay on trees.
- The skunks hibernate in groups of up to twenty animals by retreating together into the underground hiding places and survive the cold months. Nevertheless many young animals do not survive the first winter.
- The eye-catching black-and-white contrasting drawing of her coat is designed to put off enemies. The skunks owe their name to two glands located on both sides of the anus, which secrete a foul-smelling secretion in case of danger. If the skunk is threatened, it turns the attacker's rear part and splatters it unerringly and from a distance of up to six meters with the unbearably stinking and corrosive liquid.
- This defensive tactic uses the skunk only when threatening gestures such as putting up the tail and the fletschen of the teeth bring no success.
- The young, who spend almost one year in the care of the mother, develop the stink glands at the age of five weeks. Although these produce a liquid, but only in the course of a few more weeks, the stench takes.
- Since potential predators such as bears or cats of prey are more likely to avoid skunks because of the foul-smelling secretions, the traffic is the greatest danger for them. Especially in North America, many skunks are run over by cars.