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 Western Spotted Skunk (Spilogale gracilis)

Western Spotted Skunk | Spilogale gracilis photo
Releasing a Western Spotted Skunk
Photograph copyright: Scott Flinders - all rights reserved. Used with permission.  (view image details)

The Western Spotted Skunk is similar in appearance to its Eastern Spotted relative, but has more white areas of fur. It has a white spot on the forehead and one in front of each ear. There are four white stripes running down the back from the head, and stripes down each side starting from just behind the forelegs. The back part of the body has two broken white bands with white spots on each side of the rump and two more at the base of the tail. The underside of the tail is white for nearly half its length and the tip is mostly white. It has short legs with small tapered head, and short, rounded nose. Like other skunks, the Western Spotted Skunk can spray a foul-smelling fluid from two glands near the base of its tail. This liquid is oily and difficult to remove and is very painful if sprayed in the eyes.

Head and body length: males 29cm, females 23cm. Tail length: 13cm. Average weight males 700g, females 400g.

The Western Spotted Skunk lives in rocky areas and vegetated canyon beds. They make their dens in rocky outcrops or hollow logs. They are sometimes found near homes where they sometimes nest in rock walls or buildings.

Western Spotted Skunks eat mice and other small mammals, insects, lizards, birds, eggs and carrion. They also eat some vegetable matter.

Two to six kittens are born after a gestation period of 180-200 days. This is much longer than the Eastern Spotted Skunk. Breeding takes place in September or October and the eggs remain on hold for 6-7 months until March or April when development continues and young are born in late April or May. The mother has three pairs of teats for feeding young. At birth they are very immature and blind, deaf.

western half of the United States

Common Name:Western Spotted Skunk

Relatives in same Genus
  Eastern Spotted Skunk (S. putorius)

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