| Eastern and Western Spotted Skunks were for years thought to be one and the same species, but they differ in an important detail of the reproductive process. In the Western Spotted Skunk, a very long period of delayed implantation occurs. The fertilized eggs begin to develop, then stop growing at a very early stage and float freely in the uterus. When they "implant," attaching to the uterine wall, growth begins again. Breeding occurs in September or October and the fertilized eggs remain on hold for 6-7 months. In March or April, development resumes, and two to six kits are born about a month later, coinciding with a plentiful food supply. The skunks are carnivorous, feeding on mice and other small mammals, insects, lizards, birds, and carrion. They also eat some vegetable matter.
Also known as:
Civet Cat, Hydrophobia Cat, Polecat
Males are 7%-10% larger than females.
425 mm males; 383 mm females
350-581 mm males; 320-470 mm females
700 g males; 400 g females
500-900 gm males; 200-600 gm females
Merriam, C.H., 1890. Results of a biological survey of the San Francisco Mountain region and desert of the Little Colorado in Arizona. North American Fauna,, 3:1-136.
Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).
Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account (opens in a new window).