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Spotted Skunk: An Endangered Iowa Native
Shelby McKayon 3 December 2012
Transcript of Spotted Skunk: An Endangered Iowa Native
Shelby McKay The common name for this Great Plains native is the Spotted Skunk. It is called this because of the short and long spots running along the body. There are four different species of spotted skunks in North America. The one that inhabits Iowa is part of the species that also inhabits central and southwestern America.
The scientific name of this organism is Spilogale putorius. Kind of Organism The spotted skunk is a mammal. Habitat Current Population in Iowa As of right now, the State of Iowa doesn't have a current population estimate on the Spotted Skunk. This is due to nocturnal habits, a huge decrease in population, the short lives (about 1 or 2 years in the wild), and a majority of the rare sightings being roadkill. These skunks are about 1 to 3 pounds and are very hard to see. Skunks have a home range of about 150 acres so this wide range also creates problems with counting the population.
Iowa has the population listed as uncommon to rare without an actual number. There are only seven counties in Iowa that are known to house these spotted skunks. Why is it endangered? Since there are very rare sightings of this species, most only due to the death of the animal, it is hard to say how well this species is currently doing. However, scientists know the species is in danger of going extinct in Iowa. Besides having a great deal of natural predators, these animals are also threatened by humans too. This is due to humans encounters that are very dangerous and destructive. Save the Spotted Skunk
The spotted skunk habitat is usually located near a stream and their dens are located in places like thickets, woods, or shrubbery. Their ideal den is actually hollow stumps or logs or dens made by gophers, wood rats, or, their cousins, the stripped skunk. Fun Fact Spotted skunks are actually very social creatures. These nocturnal creatures will share their dens with up to six other spotted skunks. They hate being alone. However, spotted skunk mothers are protective and will not share a den with anyone but their kits and other mothers with kits. These skunks are found in woods or grasslands particularly where there are rocky outcrops . They love to live in any kind of crevice or old burrow. Role in the Ecosystem Where in Iowa is this skunk found? The skunk has natural predators such as coyotes, owls, and other large carnivorous animals. The poor eyesight of the skunk is a definite weakness but a majority of deaths now comes from humans. Roads, land being turned into suburbs and farmland, and poisoning all greatly impact the lives of these skunks Eastern spotted skunks are primarily insectivorous. When insects are unavailable, this species preys on small mammals, mainly rodents and young rabbits. Little is known about where they may still be found in Iowa. With the loss of small farms, diversified agriculture, and the lack of rodent prey attracted to readily available grain, once stored in open cribs, the “civet cat” has all but disappeared from Iowa’s farms and countryside. The Iowa Wildlife Action Plan (IWAP) is a proactive plan designed to conserve all wildlife in Iowa before they become rare and more costly to protect. Developed by a coalition of scientists, sportsmen and women, conservationists, and members of the public, this plan can help us protect wildlife and the places they live for future generations. If the steps in the action plan are successfully carried out, Iowa will have cleaner water and air - a healthy environment for people and wildlife. Fun Facts When frightened or angered, the eastern spotted skunk may engage in several unique behaviors that may serve as either a bluff or a warning prior to the discharge of the scent. It may stomp or pat its front feet in rapid succession on the floor or ground. It can also do a "handstand" on its front feet. The skunk upends itself, holds its tail in the air, and may walk up to several yards in this manner. The spotted skunk differs on how it sprays, it will do a handstand on its forefeet and spray over its head This little skunk not only comes in black but it can also appear in a very pretty brown. Thank you! Over 90% of Spotted Skunks will not live to be older than three because of all these predators. Bibliography Cook, Karen. "Weasels." N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <www.nrem.iastate.edu/class/assets/aecl364/.../17_Weasels.ppt>.
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Part 2 Part 3 Skunk Crossing. N.d. Photograph. Geocatching. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. <http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=bcdafc3d-e80e-47f4-bca6-7df9b065f583>.
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Part 4 Spotted Skunk - Spilogale Gracilis. 199. Photograph. Spotted Skunk - Spilogale Gracilis. By Alden M. Johnson. California Academic of Sciences. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. <http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/spotted_skunk.htm>.
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Unbelievably Adorable Baby Spotted Skunk. N.d. Photograph. Imgfave. Web. 26 Nov. 2012. <http://imgfave.com/view/1299826>.
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