Fresh AfieldMore posts

Skunk Is in the Air

Feb 25, 2011

striped skunk in grassy field

Late February through March is the breeding season of Missouri’s common skunk, the striped skunk. After being inactive during the coldest days of winter, these furbearers are now leaving their dens in search of food and mates. Many will fall victim to vehicles when on our roads and highways at night, the musky odor from their scent glands bearing witness of their deaths to hundreds of passing motorists.

The high incidence of skunk deaths on the roads is often attributed to their slow gait and their willingness to stand their ground against any threat. In warmer weather, skunks may be feeding on dead insects on roadways. Grasshoppers, beetles and crickets are most sought after but many other adult insects as well as larval forms are consumed.

A mostly black animal on dark pavement at night is not likely to catch the eye of many drivers and trying to avoid an animal on the highway can put a driver at risk. Skunks use their musk for defensive purposes and also to attract mates. It could be that some of the skunk victims on roads were attracted there by the smell of previously killed skunks. Sometimes it stinks to be a skunk. It’s a smelly, annual cycle of the late-winter season in Missouri.

While most striped skunks are predominantly black with white stripes on their head, neck, back and tail; it’s not too unusual to see brown, cream-colored or even albino skunks. I have seen several of the brown and cream-colored animals dead on the roads over the years. There is not a color or color pattern difference between male and female skunks.

It is not surprising that free-ranging wildlife suffer when we criss-cross the landscape with vehicles traveling at high speeds. Skunks are certainly not the only victims, but they can be one of the most difficult to ignore.


Is a sure sign spring is around the corner!

Recent Posts

MDC Director Bob Ziehmer and members of the Conservation Commision perform the ground breaking ceremony for the new Busch Shooting Range

Construction on the new Busch Shooting Range has begun

Jun 07, 2016

The new shooting range at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area just took a huge step closer to becoming a reality.  The first dirt has been turned and construction is under way!

The Kids Who Were Afraid of Snakes

Feb 11, 2016

Twin Pines’ Naturalists bring a slithering sign of summer to Willow Springs elementary on a cold winter’s day.

Fly Tying

First Flies

Feb 03, 2016

There's something very special about the first fly you ever tie. It won't be your best, and it might not be your worst, but chances are it will be your favorite.