Mephitidae – Skunks
This family stinks! To deter predators, of course
Once part of family Mustelidae; skunks and stink badgers make up this stinky family.
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word ‘skunk’ is a foul stench. Blame their infamous nipple-like anal glands. They lift their tail, aim their butt at the enemies and spray a pungent and stingy chemical in defense. This musky odor is so strong that it can be smelled from as far as 2.4 km (1.5 miles).
Skunks usually feed on small insects like wasps and honeybees but don’t underestimate their predation capabilities, as they are immune to snake venom and can even eat one of the most dangerous animals on earth—rattlesnake!
Genera in this family
If a skunk sprays, don’t worry! Just take a few steps back calmly, and don’t be too hasty
With their powerful upper bodies and impressive digging capabilities, they are well-equipped to navigate even the roughest terrains
Home of the largest skunks; can adapt to human-modified environments hence are quite abundant
Their stripes can be either divided into two white stripes, single and thin, or completely absent