One of the animals or members of the Kingdom Animalia to live in New England is the striped skunk. The striped skunk belongs to the weasel family or scientifically, the Mephitis mephitis. The range of the striped skunk includes Canada, the United States and Mexico. In New England, the striped skunk lives in woods, fields, and towns throughout the region.
The two wide white stripes down the down the back of this skunk form a V with the stripes joining near the beginning of the tail and continue to the tip of the tail. The top of the head is covered with white fur and a thin white stripe runs down the center of its face. The rest of the body is covered with black fur. The fur forms a thick, fluffy coat. The head is pointed with small ears and eyes. The animal has short legs, with a wider hind section, and long tail. Striped skunks weigh from three to ten pounds and are from thirteen to eighteen inches long, not including the tail.
Striped skunks are both predators and scavengers. They kill and eat rodents, insects, birds, and turtle eggs. They also eat road kill and scavenge in garbage cans. The animals are active during the evening, from dusk to dawn. They den up during the most of the winter. In May, the female usually has six or seven babies.
The foul-smelling liquid it sprays for its protection comes from the musk glands at the base of the skunk's tail. Skunks usually give a warning before spraying. It warns by stamping its front feet or by hissing or growling, raising up, or backing up. The spray creates a foul smell with a sulfur containing chemical, which can sting the eyes of predators, pets, and people. The spray can be directed accurately for up to twelve feet.
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