Two female striped skunks born May 2014 are making their debut at the National Zoo's Small Mammal House exhibit. The sister pair, Clementine and Trixie, arrived at the Zoo from a breeding facility in Pennsylvania. Striped skunks are easily distinguished by two bold white stripes along the back and tail, overtop an otherwise black coat. This skunk is the most common species found in North America, living in a variety of terrestrial habitats ranging from southern Canada to northern Mexico.
Their sizes range widely from 1.5 to 13 pounds and 18 to 31 inches in length, depending on geographic location and time of year. During the winter months, striped skunks can lose up to 50 percent of their weight. While docile in nature, skunks are widely known for their defense mechanism: spraying a foul-smelling oily musk from glands at the base of the tail. At eight days old, skunks are equipped to spray; nearly two weeks before their eyes open.