A publication of Appalachian Voices


A publication of Appalachian Voices

Across Appalachia

Tennessee Wants You to Sniff Out Rare Skunks

Eastern Spotted Skunk

Photo by U.S. NPS

An Eastern spotted skunk made a rare appearance on a trail camera in Bledsoe County, Tenn., in late November, and the sighting has the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency on the lookout for more. The species has black, glossy fur, an upside-down white triangle on its forehead, and zebra-like white stripes down the back and diagonal to the hips.

While the Eastern spotted skunk is smaller and much less common than its striped cousin, it has a stronger smell.

Hunters trap Eastern spotted skunks for their unique fur. According to a post on the blog Living Alongside Wildlife, biologist Damon Leismeister claims the skunk is hard to find since they often live in young forests with a dense understory cover to avoid their main predator – owls. Leismeister states that the skunk’s secretive nature hinders the public from knowing whether they are nearing extinction or simply excellent at hiding. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency states that they are of conservation concern in Tennessee. — By Jamie Tews

Sightings of the Eastern spotted skunk should be reported to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency by phone at (615) 781-6500.