Studies have shown that animals that are fierce fighters tend to have bold colors compared to peaceful animals which like to stay safe and are often in camouflage. The coloration of the animal depends on their defense methods.
The skunk has the stripe down its body, and this is to mark where it comes to the spray from the anal gland secretion, and the spray does not just dribble out. The skunks can eject this offensive musk from at least 10 feet away. Other species which can spray may not have pure stripes, but they have blotches that look like stripes at a certain level.
The skunk is known to have white stripes on black fur, and this is where it got the name of the striped skunk. The mammals became iconic because of their striped pattern and for their persistent and odoriferous spray which they can spray off because of anxiety and fear.
The skunks are normally born with stripes. Even if the newborn may be lacking hair on the skin, the stripes will be prominent. Even though the stripes do exist, they are not that developed and the babies do not have their full vision and hearing capabilities.
The striped skunks normally have fur that is completely black. The skunks will also have short and thin stripes on their face, and this runs on the forehead at the nose. The longest stripes are found in a pattern, and they start at the triangle behind its head. This triangle will then break out in two different stripes and they come to join together at the foundation of the tail.
The stripes of the skunks are not identical. There are some skunks which have thick stripes but others have thinner stripes. There are some that have longer while others have shorter stripes. Sometimes even the siblings may not have the same stripes. A certain skunk in the litter may have small stripes while others may have thicker ones.
The skunk litter may have at least 5 young babies and each one of them will have its own stripe pattern. Besides the stripes, the skunk can also be spotted.
Go back to the How to Get Rid of Skunks page or email us if you have any other questions about Why do skunks have a white stripe?
We are the Pest Education Network, a non-profit organization that focuses on wildlife and pest removal education. Our approach utilizes Integrated Pest Management, a strategy advocating prevention and humane methods.