Striped skunk

Mephitis mephitis

The striped skunk is one of the most distinctive and recognizable mammals in Florida. It has glossy, black fur with a broad white stripe on each side of the torso. The side stripes meet in the back of the animal's head, and then there is a thinner white stripe running from the animal's forehead down to its nose. Skunks are mostly nocturnal and they feed on a wide variety of insects and other small animals, as well as berries and other small fruit. Skunks are most distinctive for having glands under their tails that can spray a foul-smelling liquid at an attacker up to 15 feet away. The liquid is difficult to wash off and the pungent smell can travel more than a mile. Skunks are also known to be carriers of rabies, so - for a variety of reasons - humans should be especially cautious around these beautiful animals.

Photo credit: Pat Gaines (Flickr ID gainesp2003) Used under a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License


Learn More