Skunks are chunky, up to 30 inches long and weigh up to 10 pounds. Their fur is black with variable white striping. It defends itself with a powerful spray of a noxious oily substance. But spraying is only a last resort, or when surprised. Skunks are omnivorous, eating a lot of small mammals, beetles, grasshoppers and the like, as well as a variety of fruit such as Mulberry and Dogwood. They do not hibernate, but often spend longer periods in their den below ground during cold spells. They are mostly nocturnal, with hunting techniques similar to cats, i.e stalking.
Skunks are rarely seen in Fontenelle Forest. Tho one in the first image was seen in July 2007, ambling from the parking lot on the floodplain down Cottonwood Trail. After hailing him and taking his photograph, I decided to hike another trail that morning. The floodplain seems to have too high a water table for their dens, which are normally dug 2-4 feet below ground. There are no recent reports from Neale Woods, but they were seen there regularly near the visitors center in the past.
Disclaimer: The content of NatureSearch is provided by dedicated volunteer Naturalists of Fontenelle Nature Association who strive to provide the most accurate information available. Contributors of the images retain their copyrights. The point of contact for this page is: Roland Barth.