Known for their characteristic foul-smelling spray which travels as far as ten feet, skunks are small creatures with an average size of 15 – 20 inches. Short descriptions of the different types of skunks can be found in this article.
Skunks are polecats mainly found in the continent of America. Few of the species also inhabit regions of Indonesia. The reference of skunks immediately brings to our mind the unbearable smell they produce. A strong odor emitted from the skunk’s spray helps in keeping predators at bay. Skunks are mammals that come under the Mephitidae family of order Carnivora. Let us find more on this creature.
Different Types of Skunks
Here is a list of different types of skunks found in America and parts of Indonesia. Skunks prey on a variety of insects & rodents and are therefore, beneficial for human beings. These creatures lead a solitary life and search for prey at night. As far as possible, skunks keep out of trouble and are known to be harmless creatures. Let’s discuss its different types.
American Hog-nosed Skunk
It is the biggest skunk species in North America, and its body-length ranges from 16 – 18 inches. The scientific name of this skunk is Conepatus leuconotus. The American Hog-nosed skunk weighs between 4.4 and 9.9 lbs. This skunk species has no fixed habitat and is found in many different regions of North America. Their diet includes insects, reptiles, smaller mammals, etc.
Molina’s Hog-nosed Skunk
This type of skunk is found in South America. The length varies from 12 – 19 inches, and it weighs between 5 – 10 lbs. Scientific name of this skunk is Conepatus chinga. Two white stripes line the black fur of this skunk. Molina’s Hog-nosed skunks are found in shrub forests and also in regions with an open vegetation. This animal feeds on insects, snakes, mammals, etc.
Humboldt’s Hog-nosed Skunk
Found in the southernmost part of South America, the Humboldt’s Hog-nosed skunk lives in a variety of habitat. Scientific name of this skunk is Conepatus humboldti. This medium-sized animal weighs between 3.25 – 6.5 lbs, and its body length varies between 10 and 14.5 inches. Most of the skunk species have a similar kind of diet; this little mammal feeds on insects, fruits and smaller mammals.
In some parts of USA, people keep skunks as pets. Northern regions of USA and southern Canada are the main natural habitats of this skunk. Mephitis mephitis is the scientific name of the striped skunk. It feeds on insects & rodents, and therefore, plays an important role in their control. Length and weight of this skunk species are in the range of 22 – 30 inches and 5.5 – 14 lbs, respectively.
Striped Hog-nosed Skunk
This skunk is found in Central and South America. The striped hog-nosed skunk is bigger than many other types and grows up to 22 inches long. The black fur and stripes of this skunk are the same as in other species; however, fur present on its tail is a bit lesser. The body weight of this skunk is around 3.5 lbs. Fruits, eggs, lizards and insects form their main diet.
The dry grasslands of Central and North America are the main habitat of hooded skunk. The entire dorsal surface of their body is marked with a white stripe. These are smaller species of skunks, with weight varying between 0.9 – 2 lbs; the body length ranges from 11 – 13 inches. Apart from insects and smaller mammals, the diet of hooded skunks also includes plants like the prickly pear.
Palawan Stink Badger
This animal is found on Busuanga and Palawan islands of Philippines. In terms of size, the Palawan Stink badgers are bigger than the American Hog-nosed skunk; their body-length ranges from 12.5 and 18 inches, and weight is around 6.5 lbs. Scientific name of the Palawan skunk is Mydaus marchei. Not much study has been conducted on this species of skunk. However, it resembles the Javan Stink badger with respect to body features to some extent.
Javan Stink Badger
These 14.5 – 20 inch long skunks weigh between 3 and 8 lbs. Java, Sumatra, Natuna and Borneo islands are the natural habitats of Java Stink badger. The scientific name of Javan Stink badger is Mydaus javanensis. Diet of these skunks include grubs, worms and plants. The body color of Javan Stink badger can either be brown or black. A white colored stripe extends from the head up to its tail.
Skunks are beneficial creatures for man, however, they can also turn destructive and create problems. It is therefore important to control skunk infestation in a timely manner. One can differentiate the types of skunks on the basis of size, weight and pattern of stripes present on the body. However, the basic shape, behavior and diet of skunks, more or less remains the same.