Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

Size

  • About the size of a house cat, with a total body length ranging from 54 to 79 centimetres (21 to 31 inches).

Appearance

  • Is one of the most easily recognized and respected animals in the province. Its glossy black fur with two white stripes along each side of the body is a distinctive warning to stay away.
  • Is found in all natural regions in Alberta.


Habitat

  • Prefers forested to semi-forested areas for its habitat.
  • Can also be found in agricultural areas.

Food

  • Although skunks are efficient mousers, much of their diet consists of insects, eggs, frogs and young birds, making them beneficial to farmers and gardeners.

When Active

  • Being nocturnal, the striped skunk hunts at night and spends the day sleeping in any shelter it finds at dawn.
  • Winter is a time of reduced activity and is spent in a den.

Breeding Behaviour

  • Mating occurs after emergence from winter dens in the spring.
  • Six to eight young are born in May.

Status

The striped skunk is classified as Secure in the current General Status of Alberta Wild Species report. See:


(Source: Alberta Environment and Parks)