I bear my name well: Mephitis means “smelly.” But it is not me who stinks, but rather the liquid that I spray. My secret recipe is based on thiol, an organic compound consisting of hydrogen, carbon and sulfur, that has a strong odour of rotten eggs reminiscent of stink bombs. The liquid, or musk, is “produced” by glands near my tail at a rate of 2/3 of a tablespoon per week. One tablespoon can produce 5-6 sprays. There is no question of being wasteful... if I spray this liquid it is not for fun but to defend myself.
I am plantigrade, I walk on the soles of my feet. My front paws have long and powerful claws. I use them to dig conical holes in your lawn during the night! I’m looking for insects and their larvae, which make up 70% of my diet. Omnivorous, I sometimes venture into chicken coops to eat eggs.
I also occasionally occupy empty marmot burrows. I line my nest with dead leaves that I drag along the ground and into my burrow under my belly and between my front legs.
Total length 52,2 - 72,9 cm
Tail length 17,7 - 26,8 cm
Weight M : 1,4 - 5,3 kg ; F : 1,2 - 3,9 kg
Record of more than 13 years in captivity
Mixed or deciduous forests, prairies, agricultural zones
Insects, mice, eggs, plants
1 litter per year, 2 to 16 young (average 4 to 6)