Skunks Information

Skunks are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul-smelling odor. General appearance ranges from species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored. Skunks belong to the family Mephitidae and to the order Carnivora. There are 10 species of skunks, which are divided into four genera: Mephitis , Spilogale , Mydaus , and Conepatus . The two skunk species in the Mydaus genus inhabit Indonesia and the Philippines; all other skunks inhabit the Americas from Canada to central South America.

Skunks were formerly classified as a subfamily within the family Mustelidae, which includes ferrets, weasels, otters, badgers, and relatives. However, recent genetic evidence suggests that the skunks are not as closely related to the mustelids as previously thought; they are now classified in their own family.

Skunk species vary in size from about 15.6 to 37 inches and in weight from about 1.1 pounds to 18 pounds . They have a moderately elongated body with relatively short, well-muscled legs, and long front claws for digging.

Wikipedia, Skunks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skunks (as of Apr 8, 2010)

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