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Biology of Striped Skunks on a Southwestern Lake Erie Marsh

Theodore N. Bailey
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 85, No. 1 (Jan., 1971), pp. 196-207
DOI: 10.2307/2423922
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2423922
Page Count: 12
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Biology of Striped Skunks on a Southwestern Lake Erie Marsh
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Abstract

Striped skunks were studied on and near a 2083-acre marsh in northwestern Ohio in 1967 and 1968. The breeding season ranged from 12 February to 25 March, and the young were born from mid-April to mid-May. Most young skunks became self-sufficient in mid-August. The adult sex ratio averaged 0.8 male per female. Seventy-one per cent of the skunks examined were under 1 year old. Daily activity usually began within 60 min after sunset. Adult males and pregnant females were difficult to capture in the late spring and summer. Decreasing barometric pressure was significantly related to skunk captures. The average straight line distance between capture locations was 0.5 mile for adult males and females and 0.2 and 0.4 miles for juvenile males and females, respectively. Home ranges varied from 31 to 114 acres. The density of skunks in late summer was 12 per square mile. Skunks temporarily used the numerous dens on the dikes. Most of the 93 blue-winged teal and mallard nests observed were destroyed by predators, but skunks destroyed only 13%. Waterfowl nesting areas surrounded by deep channels or over 0.5 mile from areas frequented by skunks were relatively safe from skunk predation.

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