Striped skunk

Striped skunk[1]
Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) DSC 0030.jpg
Scientific classification edit
M. mephitis
Binomial name
Mephitis mephitis
(Schreber, 1776)
Map showing North America
Range of Mephitis mephitis

The striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) is a skunk of the genus Mephitis that is native to southern Canada, the United States and northern Mexico. It is currently listed as least concern by the IUCN on account of its wide range and ability to adapt to human-modified environments.[2]

It is a polygamous omnivore with few natural predators, save for birds of prey.[3] The striped skunk has a long history of association with humans, having been trapped and captively bred for its fur[4] and kept as an exotic pet.[5] It is one of the most recognizable of North America's animals, and is a popular figure in cartoons and children's books.[6]


The English word skunk has two root words of Algonquian and Iroquoian origin, specifically seganku (Abenaki) and scangaresse (Huron).[7][8] The Cree and Ojibwe word shee-gawk is the root word for Chicago, which means 'skunk-land'.[8] Alternative English names for the striped skunk include common skunk,[9] Hudsonian skunk, northern skunk, black-tailed skunk and prairie polecat.[8] The latter name was originally used by English settlers, who noted the animal's similarity to the European polecat. This association likely resulted in the striped skunk's subsequent unfavorable reputation as a poultry thief, despite it being a much less destructive animal than the true polecat.[4] The name "Alaska sable" was employed by furriers during the late 19th century.[10]

Local and indigenous names

Other Languages
العربية: ظربان مخطط
Atikamekw: Cikakw
български: Ивичест скункс
brezhoneg: Skoñs roudennek
čeština: Skunk pruhovaný
Deutsch: Streifenskunk
eesti: Skunk
Ελληνικά: Μεφίτης
français: Mouffette rayée
interlingua: Mephitis mephitis
ქართული: მყრალა
kaszëbsczi: Zwëczajny skąks
Lëtzebuergesch: Mephitis mephitis
მარგალური: სკუნსი
Nederlands: Gestreepte skunk
português: Cangambá
suomi: Skunkki
українська: Скунс смугастий
Tiếng Việt: Chồn hôi sọc
中文: 臭鼬