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Skunks are known for the white stripes or spots on their back and the smell they can give off. When a skunk wants to warn an enemy, it sprays a liquid "musk" that smells really bad.

You will never forget that odor once you smell it. It comes from 2 glands located near the tail of the skunk. Skunks are usually docile animals and will usually try to warn you before spraying you.  Like the raccoon, the skunk comes out mostly at night.  Skunks can weigh as much as 14 pounds and are 12-36 inches long.

Diet: Skunks eat insects and rodents. They also eat berries, nuts, eggs, snakes, and turtles.

Habitat: Grassy plains, woodlands, deserts, and suburbs. The skunk lives every state in the United States except Alaska and Hawaii.

Signs of rabies in skunks include having no fear of humans, acting aggressively, or acting listless or sick.

Never approach a wild animal. If you see a skunk, especially if it is acting strange, stay away. Call animal control if you think it might be sick.

US map showing distribution of rabies cases in skunks, 2001

There were 2,282 rabies cases in skunks in 2001. Any skunk anywhere can have the disease, not just the states that found rabies in skunks in 2001. Always be careful of any skunk you see behaving strangely.

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This page last reviewed February 6, 2003

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