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Skunks are nocturnal mammals, so they are most active at night, belong to the family of Mephitidae while related to the Mustelidae (which includes mink, weasels, badgers, otters, martens and wolverines) their closest relatives are the stink badgers.

They are extremely nearsighted (they don't see farther than 3 meters clearly) and they don't have a good sense of orientation.


The species of Skunk we are concerned with in this paragraph and the one we breed are the common or striped skunks Mephitis mephitis. This scientific name, Mephitis, is a Latin meaning of noxious vapor. They are easily recognisable by the stripes along their body.

They vary in colour and striping than other kind of skunks. Although the most common fur colour is black and white, some can be brown, grey, cream, etc. but all have waring coloration.

All skunks are striped from birth.

Striped skunks fully grown can vary in size from 40cm to 90cm long and in weight from around 0.50kg to 5kg.

Originally and common in North America, United States and northern Mexico, they live in habits such as grasslands, farmlands, forests and urban environments.

Skunks are opportunistic omnivores, feeding on both animals (mainly insects) and plants.

Their diet changes depending on the food availability fluctuating with each season.

During the year they eat insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, grubs, worms, they also eat crayfish, berries, bird eggs an several vegetables.

Skunks are solitary, living and foraging alone for the most part of the year.

They usually spend the day sleeping in dens, which are below ground abandoned borrows made by other animals like foxes. Although they don't actually hibernate, they tend to be inactive during coldest months in winter, when many gather in communal dens for warmth. During this dormancy period, they rely on their fat reserves while hiding in their warm burrows.

During summer, they prefer moving in shed or may bed in vegetation.

Once a year for the mating season, males travel long distances to search for females. Females reproduce only once a year a single litter, after mating males leave females that choose and move to a different den. A male do not take part in rearing offspring and if he tries to approach a female and her offspring he will find an aggressive mother. Skunks babies, called "kits", are independent by the end of summer and disperse from their family group.

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