Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mommy's lill stinkers

Guest post by Ty Sprayberry

More images from Ty Sprayberry in Alabama as he continues to monitor eastern spotted skunks in Talladega National Forest. The following images are of a female and her kits occupying a den from August to September. Other studies have reported that eastern spotted skunks usually give birth in July and can have as many as 6 kits per litter. The kits are usually weaned after 50-60 days. During the month this family occupied the den they spent the day inside and during the night the mother hunts for food while the kits play and explore the surrounding area.

The mom wearing a radio collar exits the den first. The den is a small burrow in the ground around the same size as a tennis ball (3in x 3in).

Next come the kits anxious to play and explore their surroundings.

One of the kits finds the camera and wants to show it who is boss.

Two kits wrestling outside the den opening. Playing is a part of many different animals’ lives and is a very important activity preparing young animals for adulthood. 

When animals play they are mimicking movements and activities they will use as adults such as fighting, hunting, and mating.

The mother brings them many food items throughout the month. Most of the items she brings back to the den are unidentifiable. In the past I have captured images of this skunk bringing snakes and small mammals to her dens earlier in the year. 

Spotted skunks are primarily insectivores, but are opportunistic feeders that will eat anything they can find, including snakes, lizards, small mammals, frogs, birds, eggs, berries, and carrion.

I am not exactly sure what this kit is playing with and chewing on. 

I am not exactly sure what this kit is playing with and chewing on.