This story stinks: TWRA asking you to keep an eye out for Eastern spotted skunks

Found mostly in Eastern and Middle Tennessee, the Eastern spotted skunk is not very common. TWRA biologists are hoping you will report any sightings. (Photo courtesy inaturalist.org)

It is not every day that folks actually go looking for skunks. However the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wants you to do just that.

TWRA is in search of Eastern spotted skunks. They are not very common and are considered a wildlife species in need of conservation in Tennessee. They are found primarily in Eastern and Middle Tennessee. This black & white image below was captured recently on a trail camera in Bledsoe County.

The much more common species - striped skunk - does not have vertical stripes or spots near rump, and lacks white spots on forehead and in front of ears.

Sightings can simply be reported by contacting your regional Wildlife Diversity Coordinator. In the Chattanooga area you can contact Chris Simpson. You can also join and upload sightings at www.inaturalist.org.

FUN FACTS ABOUT THE EASTERN SPOTTED SKUNK

  • As a defensive tactic they will conduct a headstand, move towards the threat balancing on its forelegs, and direct the tail (and scent glands) towards the threat.
  • The Eastern Spotted Skunk scent is stronger than the similar striped skunk.
  • When threatened, it can spray its scent 10-15 feet; the smell can reach up to a mile away.
  • The great horned owl is the chief predator of skunks; the skunk's odor does not seem to deter them.
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