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Most people will know a few basic facts about the
skunk, but most of these may have been learned
through the cartoon character 'Pepe Le Pew', so
something a little more scientific can provide a
more accurate picture of the animal. With a
distinctive appearance that can often appear quite
cute, when you understand some of the behaviors of
the animal, this cuteness can quickly become a
perspective on a real pest animal.
Similar in size to that of a cat or a dog, the
most distinctive part of the appearance is the
white stripe running down from the snout down the
back and up a large bushy tail. The animal tends
to have larger hind legs, with shorter front legs,
and the tail tends to be held more vertically than
other species, and it does stick up.
Depending on the species, the animals are usually
between sixteen inches and thirty seven inches in
length, and although smaller species can weigh as
little as a pound, most will be heavier, with the
largest weighing around eighteen pounds. Due to
their hunting behavior, skunks tend to have long
front claws to help with digging.
Skunks usually give birth in late spring after a
gestation of around two months, with females
having litters of between four and seven kits.
They are blind and deaf at birth, but open their
eyes after three weeks, and are eventually weaned
after two months, but stay with the mother for the
first year. Skunks can live up to seven years, but
many are killed in the first year.
Skunks will usually live in burrows that they have
dug below ground level, and particularly in colder
areas these dens can be home to several skunks. In
the wild they tend to prefer woodland areas where
they can forage and hunt easily, but they are
adaptable, and many have adapted to living in
urban and suburban areas.
Skunks are true omnivores in that they eat a lot
of fruit and vegetables, including berries, nuts,
grass and leaves, while they also eat insects
including bees, and can eat small rodents, birds,
frogs and snakes. This adaptable digestive system
has also led them to be successful at adapting to
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