Alabama is home to two species of skunk; the striped skunk and the eastern spotted skunk. The striped skunk is the largest of the skunk species and the most common in Alabama. The striped skunk has a long stocky body with short thick legs with sharp powerful claws. The striped skunk can weigh between six and fourteen pounds and weigh are twenty to thirty inches long. An adult striped skunk is approximately the size of a house cat with a bushy tail. Stipe skunks fur is black with two white stripes running from the base of their neck to back of their tail. Hence the name striped skunk. Striped skunks have a notorious defensive feature in that they produce a fowl smelling musk. When they spray, the spry can reach 12 to 15 feet and its odor can be detected over a mile away. Striped skunks are primarily nocturnal, very shy and have poor vision. They are omnivores which mean they will eat fruits, grasses and nuts along with insects small reptiles and any food of opportunity.
The eastern spotted skunk is rarely seen with the adults being approximately the size of a squirrel. In some areas the spotted skunk is a species of concern or threatened in many areas. The spotted skunks name comes from one spot on its forehead. The spotted skunk also uses it’s must for defense and can hand stand when spraying. Because of their low numbers and preference of thick cover, spotted skunks are seldom seen.
Skunks can cause problems for people in several ways aside from the infamous musk smell. They can cause damage to lawns, golf courses, and gardens while foraging for food.