G&F Requests Help with Spotted Skunk Survey

G&F Requests Help with Spotted Skunk Survey

G&F Requests Help with Spotted Skunk Survey

LANDER — Skunks are an animal most people hope they don’t run across, for obvious reasons. But if anyone encounters a spotted skunk, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department would like to hear about it. The Game and Fish and the University of Wyoming are initiating a survey of spotted skunks statewide. To help optimize the search, Game and Fish is requesting the public’s help. If you have seen a spotted skunk over the past 20 years please let us know the location and date.

“Spotted skunks aren’t very common and are fairly secretive, so we need the public’s help finding them,” said Brian Zinke, Game and Fish nongame biologist.

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Wyoming is home to three skunk species: striped, western spotted and eastern spotted. The Game and Fish is trying to determine the spotted skunks’ range in the Cowboy State and identify sites where the animal can be researched in partnership with the University of Wyoming.

Spotted skunks are smaller than the common striped skunk, and are hardly bigger than an adult red squirrel. The spotted skunk gets its name from the combination of horizontal stripes on its neck and shoulders and the irregular, vertical stripes and elongated spots on the rest of its body. In comparison, the striped skunk has dual white stripes on its back that converge on the top of its head. Spotted skunks also have a white-tipped tail, prefer more rugged country and are good tree climbers.

The two species of spotted skunk have the same appearance but differ genetically. Determining the range of the eastern and western spotted skunks in Wyoming will be part of the University of Wyoming’s research.

Zinke encourages anyone seeing a spotted skunk to take a photo, but only from a safe distance. Please report spotted skunks to the Game and Fish’s Nongame Program at (307) 332-2688, WGF-RareAnimal@wyo.gov, or through the online form.