Striped Skunk

Mephitis mephitis

The striped skunk is a boldly patterend little mustelid, with two white stripes runing from its head, along its back, and up its bushy plume of a tail across an otherwise black body. They are found throughout North America in a wide variety of habitats. Skunks are omnivores, consuming primarily insects but also taking all varieties of small animals, fruits, grass, buds, leaves, grain, nuts, and carrion. They are adaptable and do well in areas inhabited by humans.

Striped skunks are notorious for their defense mechanism. When severely provoked, they turn their backside toward their antagonist, raise their tail, and squirt a spray of odiferous musk up to three meters, aiming for the face. Anything caught in the spray immediately becomes contaminated with an overpoweringly foul odor that lingers for weeks. The spray causes extreme pain if it contacts any mucous membrane. If the spray gets in the eyes, it causes temproary blindness. Spray up the nose or in the mouth can cause nasea and vomiting. In game t erms, this is treated as a Jet with the Blood Agent modifier, which can affect t he eyes and nose on any unprotected face hit. So effective is this defense that skunks have almost no natural predators (with the exception of predatory birds, which have little in the way of a sense of smell). Skunks walk about quite brazenly, trusting in their reputation to avoid trouble.

Skunks are generally benificial to man, for they destroy large numbers of agricultural pests. However, they are one of the primary carriers of rabies. They can also be malodorous nuisances when accidentally struck by automobiles or when encountered by an over-enthusiastic pet dog.

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