Why Do Skunks Smell? Skunk Facts for Kids

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  • Skunks are mammals.
  • Skunks are omnivores meaning they eat both plants and animals.
  • Skunks eat a variety of things including: fruits, plants, insects, worms, reptiles, bird eggs, small mammals and rodents.
  • Skunks will attack a beehive and eat honey bees.
  • Skunks are mainly nocturnal and search for food at night.
  • There are 10 different kinds of Skunks.  The 3 main types are Striped Skunks, Hog-Nosed Skunk, and the Spotted Skunk.
  • The Striped Skunk is black with two white stripes going down their backs.
  • The Hog-Nosed Skunk are black and hairless around their snout. They do not have a white stripe on their face.
  • The Spotted Skunk are all black with white patches on their backs. Spotted skunks can climb trees.
  • Skunks live mainly in North, Central and South America.
  • The Stink Badger Skunk lives in Indonesia and the Philippines.
  • The most common type of skunk in the U.S is the Striped Skunk.
  • On average skunks weight around 14 pounds however some can weight up to 18pounds.
  • The average life span for wild skunks is 3 years.  Domesticated skunks can live up to 10 years.
  • Skunks are know for spraying a  foul smell when they feel threatened.
  • The spray is called musk.
  • The musk is a yellow oily foam.
  • The musk comes out of two anal glands from under their tail.
  • Stand back because skunks can spray musk 10 – 12 feet.
  • Before a skunk sprays must they will usually give a warning.  They may stomp their feet, growl, hiss, turn their backs or lift their tails.
  • A skunk carries enough musk to spray 5-8 times.  Once the glands are empty if will take a week for them to refill.
  • A skunks spray is not harmful to humans however the foul odor can last a couple of days.
  • A  male skunk is called a buck.
  • A female skunk is called a doe.
  • A baby skunk is called a kit.
  • Kits are born blind and do not have the ability to spray musk for a couple of weeks.
  • Mother skunks give birth to 2-10 skunks.
  • Skunks nest in burrows made by other animals or hollow logs sometimes they live in abandoned buildings.
  • Skunks live in rural, suburban and even urban areas close to water.
  • Their habitats include woods, grasslands and brush.
  • Skunks can runs up to 10 miles per hour.
  • Skunks have excellent hearing and a good sense of smell.  They have poor eyesight.
  • Skunks can carry rabies.
  • Predators to skunks are wolves, fox, owls, coyotes and bobcats.