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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Carnivora · Mephitidae · Spilogale putorius

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Spilogale putorius

Eastern Spotted Skunk

Order: Carnivora
Family: Mephitidae

Image of Spilogale putorius
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Conservation Status: Least Concern.

Spotted skunks are smaller than Striped skunks and more weasel-like in appearance. Like all skunks, they have anal scent glands and can emit a foul-smelling spray to protect themselves. The Spotted Skunk usually sprays as a last resort, if stomping with its front paws or doing a handstand is not sufficient to warn off an intruder. Spotted Skunks are good climbers, able to scurry up and down trees like squirrels, and prefer forested areas to open countryside. They sometimes dig burrows to use for denning, and sometimes choose such places as barns, haystacks, dens abandoned by other mammals, or crevices in trees. Usually they live alone, although in cold weather, several skunks may den together.

Also known as:

Civet-cat, Little Spotted Skunk, Hydrophoby Cat, Little Pole-cat, Four-striped Cat


Average: 459 mm males; 422 mm females
Range: 310-610 mm males; 270-544 mm females


Range: 276-885 g males; 207-475 g females


Linnaeus, C., 1758.  Systema Naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classis, ordines, genera, species cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis, Tenth Edition, Laurentii Salvii, Stockholm, 1:44, 824 pp.


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Distribution of Spilogale putorius

Image of Spilogale putorius
Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk), Appalachian Trail
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Skull of Spilogale putorius
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