Skunk

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Conepatus
Mydaus
Mephitis (type)
Spilogale

Skunks are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor. General appearance ranges from species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored. Skunks belong to the family Mephitidae[1][2] and to the order Carnivora. There are 10 species of skunks, which are divided into four genera: Mephitis (hooded and striped skunks, two species), Spilogale (spotted skunks, two species), Mydaus (stink badgers, two species), and Conepatus (hog-nosed skunks, four species). 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 classified as a subfamily within the family Mustelidae, which includes ferrets, weasels, otters and badgers. 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.[2]

Contents

Physical description

Skunk species vary in size from about 15.6 to 37 inches (40 to 94 cm) and in weight from about 1.1 pounds (0.50 kg) (the spotted skunks) to 18 pounds (8.2 kg) (the hog-nosed skunks). They have a moderately elongated body with relatively short, well-muscled legs, and long front claws for digging.

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