Body length: 13 - 18"; weight 6 – 14 lbs.
Diet: Seeds, roots, berries, and small mammals
Striped skunks spray their scent as a defense against predation and molestation. The offensive odor is caused by a sulfur-containing compound called mercaptan, which is closely related to the scents added to natural gas to enable detection of leaks. Tomato juice neutralizes mercaptan, and will help to remove the smell of skunk from clothes, hair, or dog fur.
This species is one of our most widespread and common mammals, occurring throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. All skunks eat a wide variety of foods including insects, small mammals, seeds, carrion, fruits, and other vegetation. Close relatives include ferrets, otters, and badgers. Striped skunks occur throughout Tonto National Monument, though they are most often observed in developed and riparian areas. Like all skunks, they are rarely active during the day.
Did You Know?
Tonto National Monument is home to a crested saguaro. Biologists disagree as to why some saguaros grow in this unusual form. Some speculate that it is a genetic mutation. Others say it is the result of lightning or freeze damage. About one in 150,000 saguaros develop this unusual growth.