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Description of Skunk

´╗┐Skunks belong to the weasel family (Mustelidae), which also contains badgers, weasels, and otters. They form three mustelid genera found in southern Canada, throughout the United States, in Mexico, and in Central America. The average skunk is sturdily built and cat-sized. It has a long, pointed nose or a hoglike nose, an arched back, and short legs. Skunk fur is long, soft, shiny, and black with wide, white stripes down the back. Stripe patterns differ among skunk species. Many skunks also have white forehead patches. Skunk tails are long, bushy, and usually black on top and white underneath. Skunks live in hollow trees, burrows, or under sheds when dwelling among humans. They eat insects, mice, gophers, reptiles, squirrels, birds, and eggs. They help farmers by killing other animals that eat or prey upon agricultural products. Skunks are best known for their vile-smelling musk, originating in perineal glands on either side of the anus.When frightened, a skunk squirts out this fluid with considerable force. The musk's vile odor usually keeps enemies away. Ahuman or animal sprayed with the fluid smells bad for weeks. For this reason, most people and animals learn not to attack skunks. One predator of skunks is the great horned owl, unaffected by the musk.

Physical Characteristics of Skunks

Striped or common skunks live in small groups in underground dens in pastures, meadows, and fields. They eat insects, gophers, reptiles, squirrels, birds, grubs, and eggs. These skunks are nocturnal hunters. They either dig their own dens or use those vacated by other animals. Striped skunks are the largest skunks, reaching body-totail lengths of 3.5 feet and weights of five pounds. Their coats are glossy and black, with two wide, white stripes running from head top to tail tip. They spray musk in self-defense up to 6.5 feet. The musk hurts the eyes of predators and its vile odor lingers for many days. Another type of skunk is the hog-nosed skunk. There are seven hog-nosed skunk species. They differ in habitat from striped skunks, living in rocky areas and inhabiting rocky crevices. They have sharp claws for digging hard, rocky soil. Hog-nosed skunks are two feet long from nose to tail tip and weigh about 3.5 pounds. Their glossy black coats have a white head-to-tail stripe. Unlike other skunks, they lack white stripes down the middle of the face and their tails are all white. Their long, bare snouts look like pig snouts, hence the name. Hog-nosed skunks are nocturnal and eat the same food as striped skunks. Spotted skunks differ from striped and hognosed varieties in having four to six broken stripes or spots in different patterns on body and tail. Some dig burrows; others live in rock crevices. They are much smaller than other skunks, being only 1.25 feet long from nose to tail tip and weighing only one pound. Spotted skunks are like other skunks in nocturnal predation and diet.

Thanks for description - Animal life club

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