Pest Index

Striped Skunk


Binomial Name: Mephitis mephitisStriped Skunk - Mephitis mephitis


  • Overall Length: 52-80 cm
  • Colour: Black with 2 broad white stripes on the back meeting in a cap on the head and shoulders; thin white facial stripe
  • Weight: 6-14 lb
  • Tail: 18-40 cm; bushy, black, often with a white tip or fringe

Life Cycle:  Adult skunks begin breeding in late January, although yearling (a skunk that is a year old or in it’s second year) females born in the previous year mate in late March.  Gestation usually is 7-10 weeks.  Older females bear young during the beginning of May while yearling females bear young in June with litters consisting of 4-6 young.  Skunks can live up to 10 years but few live past 3 years in the wild.

BehaviourSkunks are dormant for about a month during the coldest part of winter when they will remain in their den.  Den sites typically have good drainage and are protected from the rain; under porches, decks and sheds provide excellent den sites.  Skunks are nocturnal, slow-moving and have great confidence in defending themselves against other animals with a foul smelling secretion from their musk gland.

Signs of Infestation:  Since skunks are nocturnal their presence may go unnoticed until they take up occupancy beneath a building or have a confrontation with another animal, leaving the telltale odor of their presence.  Damage by skunks to structures tends to be of an olfactory nature rather than affecting the integrity of a structure.  Damage to landscapes will often appear as small, 7-10 cm, cone shaped holes or patches of upturned earth.