2013 Envirothon

What is odor memory?
animals remember the noxious odor
Skunks are a m_______.
What serves as a warning?
bold black and white colors
How does the skunk avoid predators?
odor memory; coloring; causes predators to detour around slow moving skunk
Why are owls predators?
they can get sprayed and tolerate the odor; they can get close enough to kill it
Where does the stink come from?
nozzle-like ducts found in the scent glands located on ether side of the rectum
What is in a skunk’s spray?
The musky scent is an oily liquid that has an active sulphide ingredient called mercaptan
What if a skunk sprays someone’s eyes?
causes temporary blindness
How far can skunks spray?
up to 12 feet by twisting their hind end toward the target
Describe a skunk preparing to spray.
~Warn enemy by drumming forefeet, snarling
~last resort is spray: lift tail and arch back
Can skunks spray with if you are holding them by the tail?
Describe a striped skunk
black coat and bold white stripe OR
V mark over shoulders with two stripes
Stripes vary in length and width
Tail tipped white
All look alike-male, female and young
How large is an adult skunk?
two feet, including a 12 inch tail
Weigh up to 12 pounds
Skunks are p_____
Skunks are plantigrades, like racoons and bears, and the bottoms of their feet are hairless
Describe the feet of a skunk
~long sharp claws for digging on small forefeet
~hind feet have shorter claws
~each foot has 5 toes
~they are not aquatic or semi-aquatic, but they have slightly webbed toes and can swim
Describe movement, senses, noises
slow movers and poor climbers
fair sense of smell/sight/hearing
excellent sense of touch
variety of sounds, like hissing, growling, squealing, cooing and churrings (like Wheezie!)
Mephistis mephistis
striped skunk; most commonly found in PA; polecat is a common name
spilogale putorius
spotted skunk
Which skunk performs a handstand on its forefeet before spraying?
spotted skunk; also puts body into a U shape pointing head and tail at the enemy before spraying
When do they hunt; what do they eat?
Skunks are nocturnal omnivores; summer nights they eat insects like grasshoppers, bees,potato bugs, wasps, Japanese beetle grubs
What helps them dig? What do they dig?
Claws; small, cone shaped holes signifies skunks feeding on soil grubs; also prey on spiders, lizards, snakes, toads, frogs, mice, chipmunks, eggs of turtles and birds
What do skunks eat in the fall and winter?
wild grapes and cherries; grasses, leaves, buds, acorns; also carrion
Where do they make dens?
abandoned groundhog burrows; hollow wood or rock piles; under porches or buildings;
Do skunks hibernate?
no, they live off accumulated body fat; they den up and sleep for extended periods in the worst weather
males leave their dens in late February/early March; breed once a year
Young skunks
~5-7 kits born
~blind, furless at birth
~pattern of black and white markings can be seen on skin
~scent glands function at three weeks
~leave den with mother at two months
~family disperses by fall; or following spring
How are skunks like ducks?
they follow the mother in single file