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Skunks  

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In Florida we have both the Eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) and the Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) (Pictured to the right from Illinois).  They occur throughout Florida except for the Keys.  Both skunk species are about the size of a house cat with a small head, and short legs.  The tail is the most distinctive feature, and has potent scent glands which may be sprayed for up to 15 feet when the tail is up.   Both species occur in brushy fields, weedy pastures, disturbed areas, and sometimes in residential and suburban areas.   Striped skunks may be active day or night, but are most active in late afternoon and during the night.  The spotted skunk sleep during the day, and are active at night.   Both skunks are omniverous  and may be attracted to lawns with many insects, where food scraps are kept, or where there are brush piles, wood piles, and similar sources of shelter. 

If you have problems with skunks visiting, they may be addressed by removing sources of food for the skunk. The animal may be caught in a trap, but relocating wildlife is seldom biologically sound, the animal often does not survive, and a special relocation permit is required to transport native wildlife.  If you catch a skunk in a trap, be careful to avoiding being sprayed.  Slowly approach the trapped skunk and cover the trap with a small tarp or towel.  The trap must be moved very carefully without jarring the animal or frightening it by letting it see you.  Skunks, are subject to epizootics of rabies, but this has not been a serious problem in Florida.

More Information

Skunk species account from Illinois

Striped skunk information (including tracks) from British Columbia

Spotted Skunk track information     Striped Skunk track information

University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension (.pdf)

 

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