Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals
Search the Archive

  Carnivora · Mephitidae · Spilogale putorius
   Smithsonian Institution
   Copyright Notice
   Privacy Notice
Spilogale putorius

Eastern Spotted Skunk

Order: Carnivora
Family: Mephitidae

Image of Spilogale putorius
Click to enlarge. (88 kb)

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.


Mammal Species of the World

Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account

Distribution of Spilogale putorius

Image of Spilogale putorius
Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk), Appalachian Trail
Click to enlarge. (326kb)

Skull of Spilogale putorius
Click to enlarge. (25kb)