Where does the skunk live? Striped skunk: description, photo
A lot of people know about skunk onlythat he is the most foul-smelling animal in the world. It is for this reason that it is rarely seen in zoos. However, very few people know that these cute animals are so harmless that they can become pets.
There are several types of skunks:
- dwarf (or spotted);
- swine (pig-nosed);
- smelly (zond);
- the American-American;
- skunk of Humboldt.
They are basically the same type in their color, but they have small distinctive characteristics. More common is the striped skunk.
Homeland of the striped skunk and habitat
So, the skunk is an animal that can be easily recognizedon white stripes (spots) on a black wool. The homeland of this small predator is the territory of North America. The range of its habitat covers a significant part of the continent. He also meets in Canada. Exceptions are only Hawaii and Alaska. He prefers to climb to an altitude of about 2 thousand meters above sea level, but some species can climb high into the mountains or simply live in meadows and forests.
If you do not already know where the skunk lives and where its holes may be, then you should take a closer look at the secluded corners of the settlements and the territories with the reservoirs.
Zverek willingly settles near garbage cans, onback yards, masks their holes in the bushes, on the fringes, as well as on rocky slopes. Spends the night in dry, inconspicuous places and often chooses another's hole, dug by other animals of the same size. Wherever the skunk lives, there are always lots of midges, grass and even human food waste. There must also be access to water.
What does a striped skunk look like?
This species is fairly easy to distinguish by widestripes of white color along the black back. They stretch from the head to the tip of the tail, which is very fluffy. The weight of the striped predator on average is no more than 5 kg, but before the hibernation in winter, a layer of fat accumulates under the skin of the animal. The length of the tail is slightly larger than the body itself - about 40 cm. Often the males are slightly larger than females, the paws are short, and the muzzle is elongated. Ears are small, rounded. Furry fur is not at all soft, as it may seem at first glance.
The contrasting color of the skunk is designed to repel the enemy and is noticeable from afar. It signals that its carrier is able to protect itself.
If you show attentiveness, it is not difficult at allwill find out what the skunk eats. These good-natured animals are unpretentious in food, and their menu is quite diverse. They are able to dig out useful roots with the help of their long curved claws and rake up the leaves. Willingly absorb berries, nuts, grass, fruits, vegetables, seeds and other vegetation. But the main diet is made up of insects. Also these striped predators can ruin nests by eating eggs of birds, catch small rodents, frogs, and occasionally fish. Do not disdain animals and carrion. They swarm in garbage cans and landfills, searching for the waste of human food. On the hunt they leave mostly at night and completely rely on their hearing and sense of smell, since they do not have good eyesight.
It is worth noting that the skunks even eat coprophagies that swarm in their feces.
How does it multiply?
The period of puberty in skunks occurs inthe age of 11 months. In spring, the male, who is able to collect a whole kind of harem, takes an active part in marriage games. And after the partner's fertilization, he continues to live his life and no longer takes part in caring for the offspring. Since striped skunks are essentially single animals, males can live with females in the same hole only in winter - they combine to survive.
Breed small animals for 66 days.As soon as it is possible to find a suitable hole or pit, the animal is taken to cover it with shallow dry foliage and grass, various rubbish, because where the skunk lives, it must be warm and dry. Cubs are born blind, defenseless and feed on mother's milk for up to 6-8 weeks. Three weeks later they open their eyes, can move around a little, and starting from the 5th week of life they make sorties out of the hole, true, together with their mother. During the walk, they actively learn, copy the habits of older relatives. Babies remain in the family until the next marriage period.
It is worth noting that the small offspring can stand up for themselves from the age of 4 months.
The way of life of skunks
Skunks live in a sluggish, quiet mode, because ofwhich many people think that these animals are lazy. They are rather sluggish and rarely run. The speed of their movement does not exceed 10 km / h. The animals are swimming well and are not at all adapted to climbing. They sleep during the day, and go to look for food at night. In the wild, these predators live about 6-8 years, and at home even longer.
It is noteworthy that skunks do not run away from their enemies, because they have a special protective agent, which makes it possible to scare away from a distance.
How Skunks Defend
Nature has given skunks a unique meansprotection in the form of an unpleasant persistent odor. Sensing the danger, the animal begins to spray the fetid liquid contained in special anal glands. The first time is considered a warning, and if the enemy does not start to retreat, the skunk becomes in the rack on the front paws, places the rear, then takes aim and performs 7-8 accurate shots in the eyes. Thus the animal practically does not miss. The range of this "chemical weapon" is up to 4 meters. The smell of a skunk remotely resembles a mixture of garlic with rotten cabbage, rubber and burnt feathers. In addition, the ingress of fluids on mucous membranes causes severe burning, since it contains butyl mercaptan, ethyl mercaptan and other natural compounds.
It is worth noting that the "fragrance" is very stable, long does not erode and remains even after several treatments.
Interesting facts about skunks
- Skunks never use their weapons in fights with representatives of their own kind.
- Striped skunks (in comparison with other animals of the same size) do not tolerate bites of poisonous snakes ten times better.
- The only enemy of skunks is a virgin owl. He hunts them at night and calmly ignores the fragrant secret of the animal.
- In order to eat a poisonous frog, bees or caterpillars, skunks roll their paws on the ground. This helps to get rid of thorns on the skin of the prey, stings, etc.
- Animals can not resist sweet honey - after finding a beehive, they eat not only honey, but honey bees themselves with honeycombs.
In fact, skunks are very nice animals and can become pets if they remove anal glands containing a secret with an unpleasant odor.
Some people are so fond of such animals that they willingly hang out a photo of a skunk in the house.
Contents of skunks at home
Recently it has become very popular to keepskunks in living quarters, because they have an easy character, are very good-natured and sociable. In addition, the animals are affectionate and faithful. Unlike dogs or cats, they will never bite their shoes, they will not scratch the furniture. Where the skunk lives, it will be very fun and interesting. Like some pets, these animals are able to respond to nicknames and even execute several commands. Acquire a skunk for the cage, which will become his house, and toys (the balls will perfectly suit). Make your pet a nest of dry grass where it can burrow, and do not be afraid to leave the cage open - little animals like to move freely around the house. However, do not start a skunk, which is already more than two years, otherwise it will take a lot of time to tame.
Since the birthplace of the skunk is a continent,in the north of the Western Hemisphere of the planet, then the diet should be chosen appropriate. Do not feed the animal salty, spicy, sweet or oily food. Include in the menu fruits and vegetables, and the need for protein replenish with fish, chicken and eggs. Also give skunks millet, rice and other grains. With proper care, the animal can live more than 10 years in captivity.
It is worth noting that the first who tamedskunks, were Indians of the Persian race. This representative of the animal world was their symbol of the sun, because its all-pervasive odor is comparable to the sun's rays that can get even underground. It is for this reason that the inhabitants of America, who do not have the opportunity to acquire an unusual pet, prefer to store photos of a skunk or of a scarecrow and figurines on the premises.