in Southern Ontario

The black and white skunk is familiar to most residents of Southern Ontario, as we see them as they wander in our yards and gardens.

In this area we often see them after they have been hit by a car at the side of the road, dead.

Skunks are mammals and are best known for their ability to excrete a foul odour. They are usually black and white, although some individuals are brown and white, and they belong to the family Mephitidea

North American Skunk, black and white skunk,

They are carnivores and will eat most food that comes their way - insects, snakes, lizards, worms and berries, fungi and nuts, and they are known to dig up sections of lawns to find the grubs under the grass.

One of their less attractive habits is foraging in the garbage outside our homes!

They seem to be most active at dawn and dusk and can often be seen in this area checking out the contents of garbage bags, the night before pick-up - it must seem like a delicious buffet to them!

When adult these animals can be up to 36" long and weigh between 3 lbs and 14 lbs, and are the size of a domestic house cat.

Family of Skunks in a backyard on grass

These creatures often announce their presence by their unpleasant, strong odour, which is sprayed from its anal glands when the animal feels threatened.

On occasions this has made life difficult at our house - my hubby once set a trap to catch a Raccoon which had been raiding our hen-house.

What he found in the trap the following morning was one of these stinky creatures, and let me tell you, he was not happy!

Hubby had a difficult time releasing it without being sprayed!

There are several products on the market to remove the smell after people or pets have been sprayed, I know of several dogs that have been sprayed by a skunk.

These are often used to get rid of the odour on the family dog who unwisely decided to tangle with one of these critters!

Skunk Info ...

Hinterland Who's Who - the Striped Skunk
Lots of information on this animal - one of the most useful small mammals that inhabit the mixed farmlands, grasslands, and forests of Canada

This charming video is courtesy of YouTube and PBS - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Picture of "la mouffette" at top of page, is courtesy of © Eric Isselée |

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