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Canada's Species   Mammals

Western Spotted Skunk

Spilogale gracilis

Photo:Alden M. Johnson
Western Spotted Skunk. Photo:Alden M. Johnson

The striped skunk is the one familiar to most Canadians, but the western spotted skunk is sometimes found on the southern B Cmainland. Smaller, slimmer, and more like a weasel than the striped skunk, this skunk has six blotchy white stripes extending from its head to its rump. While this skunk has an infamous olfactory line of defence similar to its striped cousin, but its behaviour before spraying is unique. If threatened, the spotted skunk will first raise its tail, then progress to performing a dancing "handstand" on its forefeet, elevating its tail further. If this is not sufficient warning to drive away an intruder, the skunk will spray. Although omnivorous, this skunk is more disposed towards a diet of meat than is the striped skunk. Its diet ranges from cottontails, rats, voles, mice, corn, beetles, and berries. The spotted skunk's main natural predator is the great horned owl, which is impervious to the effects of the skunk's spray.

Map of Western Spotted Skunk in Canada
Distribution of Western Spotted Skunk in Canada

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