How to Identify Striped Skunks

While they are typically docile creatures, striped skunks spray predators with their overpowering yellow musk when they feel threatened. In fact, the smell of this defense mechanism is so strong, it can be detected up to mile away. Striped skunks are nocturnal feeders and keep a diverse diet of anything from insects, invertebrates, and small mammals to eggs, fish, and even garbage.

Identifying Features

Comparable in size to housecats, striped skunks typically grow 32 inches in length and weigh approximately 14 pounds. Like most skunk species, the striped skunk is easily recognized due to its characteristic black fur and prominent white markings. The average adult has one stripe running from the tip of their snout to the crest of their forehead, as well as a stripe that runs down the length of their back. Other prominent features include bushy tails, triangle-shaped heads, small ears, and piercing black eyes.

image of a skunk


Found throughout the United States, striped skunks den in caves, hollow logs, brush piles, and under buildings. Woodlands, forested regions, and grassy plains are some of their preferred habitats. Additionally, striped skunks are prominent nuisances in suburban neighborhoods.

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