The pygmy spotted skunk occupies a very small range along the Pacific coast of Mexico.
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )
The spotted skunk is the most weasel-like of the three main skunk genus. It has a smaller, more slender body and a finer coat then it's closest relatives. Pygmy spotted skunks reach a length of 115-345 mm with a tail of 70-120 mm. It has a beatiful, rich black coat with characteristic white markings on its forehead and 2-6 white stripes over its back and sides. The stripes break into spots over the hindquarters. The tail is often tipped in white, although no two patterns are alike
Like all skunks, they posses two grape sized scent gland on either side of the anus.
Habitat and Ecology
Pygmy Spotted Skunks inhabit wooded or brushy habitats with rocky soil. They avoid dense forest and wetlands. They den in burrows or may seek refuge in trees
Terrestrial Biomes: forest
Omnivore. Spotted skunks are the most carnivorous of the skunks. The pygmy spotted skunk feeds on insects, fruit, and berries in the summer months and hunts smaller mamals, birds, and reptiles during the winter. They may climb trees in pursuit of prey and sometimes raid hen houses for eggs.
Life History and Behavior
Pygmy spotted skunks mate in September or October but implatation is delayed until March or April. The embryonic development only lasts 28-31 days, for a total pregnancy of 230-250 days. Females give birth to 3-6 young per litter in the early spring (litters may be as small as 2 or as large as 9). The young attain adult coloration after 21 days, open their eyes at 32 days, can spray musk at46 days, and are weaned before 2 months, They reach adult size at 15 weeks and become sexually mature in less than a year. The young disperse in the fall but may spend the winter with their mother in a communal den.
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Economic Importance for Humans: Negative
Aside from the occasionnal interaction with domesticated dogs, and other large domestic mammals skunks have little to do with the everyday lives of humans. They may occasionally raid henhouses. Skunks do carry rabies.
Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Pygmy Spotted Skunks feeds on insects and other rodent pests, aiding agriculture. They were trapped for their pelts to some degree.
Pygmy spotted skunk
Distribution and habitat
The pygmy skunk inhabits along the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is found in woodlands and thickets in rocky soil. They avoid dense forests and swamps. It dens in burrows, but can take refuge in trees.
The spotted skunks are the most similar to the weasels of the skunks. It has a slimmer body, and tail coat thinner smaller than their close relatives. It reaches a length of 115–345 mm with a tail of 70–120 mm. Its coat has a black background with white spots on the forehead and characteristics of 2-6 white stripes on the back and flanks. The bands become spots on the back later. The tip of the tail is often white. Like all skunks, it has two large scent glands in the perianal region.
The mating season occurs in September or October, but the delayed implantation of the embryo lasts until March or April of the next year. Embryonic development takes 28–31 days for a total duration of 230–250 days (counted from the moment of fertilization). Females give birth between 3-6 cubs per litter. Juveniles get their final color after 21 days, open their eyes at 32 days, can spray musk at 46 days and are weaned after two months. They reach adult size at 15 weeks and reach sexual maturity in time to participate in the mating season after their birth. The young disperse in the fall, but can pass the winter with their mothers in a communal den.
This skunk is omnivorous, however, is the most carnivorous of the family. It feeds mainly on insects, fruits, berries in the summer months, and hunts small mammals, birds, and reptiles during the winter. They can climb trees in pursuit of their prey and sometimes venturing into hen houses to take eggs.
Juveniles have seen accompanying their mothers in their nocturnal hunting trips. These skunks often share large nests during winter, but will not hibernate. The species is strictly nocturnal . The first reaction in case of threat is to flee. When cornered, it becomes aggressive, bristling and raising its tail to appear larger. Can stand on its front legs and advance in that position against their attacker. If the threat persists, it returns to standing on four legs and folds back on itself in a U shape, pointing its tail at its enemy. That is when it sprays its odorous excretion to say goodbye to its opponent.
The IUCN Red List species is classified as a vulnerable species due to the progressive reduction of its population, up to 30% over three generations (15 years) inferred by the percentage of habitat loss. This species has a restricted and discontinuous habitat in an area of Mexico in open development is threatened as a result of the activities related to tourism development. The species inhabits a variety of habitats and can survive under conditions of human intervention in these areas, but dogs and cats pose a threat.
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- Cuarón AD & Helgen H (2008). Spilogale pygmaea. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- Bradley David Gay (1999). "Spilogale pygmaea". Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Spilogale_pygmaea.html. Retrieved 2012-01-24.
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