Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
A group of animals within a class
A group of animals within an order
A group of animals within a family
The name of the animal in science
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
How long the animal lives for
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
|Black, White, Grey|
The protective layer of the animal
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
|Open woodland and dense shrub|
|Average Litter Size:|
The average number of babies born at once
The food that the animal gains energy from
|Insects, Rodents, Rabbits|
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
|Owls, Coyote, Wild cats|
Characteristics unique to this animal
|Striped fur and defensive stink gland|
The skunk (also known as the polecat) is most commonly known for their ability to secrete a foul, strong smelling odour from their rear end, when the skunk feels that it is under threat.
There are 11 known species of skunk in the world, with most of these skunk species inhabiting the American continent. Two of these skunk species are found in Indonesia and the Philippines. The colour of the skunk can vary from the typical black and white to grey, cream and even brown. However, all skunks are striped and baby skunks are even born with their striped markings regardless of their colour.
The average skunk is between 40 and 70cm in height and weighs about the same as a domestic cat. The skunk hunts insects, small birds and mammals. Skunks also commonly eat berries, roots, grasses and fungi in order to supplement their diet.
Baby skunks are born completely toothless and blind, with the eyes of the baby skunk not opening until the skunk is a few weeks old. The baby skunks are also unable to use their defensive spray when they are first born. The skunks spraying ability develops just before it's eyes open when the skunk is a couple of weeks old.
Skunks are generally solitary animals and only really come together to breed. In colder regions however, skunks have been known to inhabit communal burrows in order to try to keep each other warm. Most skunks hide in burrows during the day which the skunk digs out with its long front claws.
Although skunks have excellent smell and hearing, skunks are known to have very poor vision and can only see objects that are right in front of them. With the introduction of cars, numerous skunks have been killed on the roads as the skunks cannot see the cars coming towards them until it is too late.
Female skunks usually give birth to their babies in the hotter month of May after a gestation period of a couple of months. The female skunk gigs out a burrow in which to give birth to her skunk babies (kits) and the baby skunks will usually stay with their mother until they are about a year old and are old enough to mate themselves.
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First Published: 10th November 2008, Last Updated: 7th November 2019
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2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. David W. Macdonald, Oxford University Press (2010) The Encyclopedia Of Mammals [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2010]
4. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]
5. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2009]
6. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 10 Nov 2008]