Our Wild Neighbors

Striped Skunk

Mephitis mephitis

A city or countryside dweller throughout the country, except in Newfoundland

Image of a Striped Skunk, mounted on all fours with its tail raised.

Description of the animal

  • Glossy black fur with two white stripes along its back and tail.
  • Small head, short legs, long claws.
  • Particularly foul-smelling secretory glands.
  • Bigger than the Spotted Skunk found in the Vancouver region.

Habitat and needs

  • Nocturnal.
  • Generally active from March to November.
  • Omnivorous diet, but prefers insects during summer months.
  • Lives in abandoned burrows, in basements, and under human constructions.
  • Sways its pudgy body from side to side to move about.
  • Counts on its secretory glands to defend itself, but only resorts to using them after giving visual and auditory warnings.


  • Extended its territory by squatting under sheds and porches.
  • Unaggressive, it rarely sprays humans. Its spray is usually directed towards pets.
  • Frequently killed on roadways.

Living with them

  • To discourage the Striped Skunk from visiting your yard, block access to all forms of shelter and limit food sources (compost and garbage bags).
  • Keep in mind that it eats insects, field mice, and mice.

Participating cities where this animal has been seen