Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife and Resource Agency are attempting to track down skunks of an extremely rare species in order to better understand the status of the species. This rarely seen species of skunk is commonly known as the eastern spotted skunk, and while the species is not currently listed as endangered, officials with the agency want to make sure that this skunk species remains active within its natural habitat. In an effort to collect as many of these skunks as possible, the agency is attempting to recruit members of the public to help with the search and trapping effort, but considering that skunks are notorious for their overwhelmingly unpleasant smelling spray, most people would never consider approaching one.
The eastern spotted skunk is notable for having a white polka-dotted design on its black coat as opposed to the white stripes that the common skunk sports. These skunks dwell within the eastern half of the country, just as their name suggests, but populations of eastern spotted skunks are dwindling rapidly, making them an incredibly rare sight even for nature-lovers and outdoorsmen living in the eastern US. There also exists a western spotted skunk that bears the same coat design as the eastern spotted skunk, but unlike its eastern counterpart, the western spotted skunk is a common site in western states.
Unlike common striped skunks that weigh between 10 to 12 pounds, the eastern spotted skunk is much smaller, weighing 1-1.5 pounds. By the 1970s and 80s, populations of the eastern spotted skunk basically disappeared in many states where they had been native, such as Wisconsin and Minnesota. By the 1990s, the eastern spotted skunk could no longer be found within any of the midwestern states. Tennessee animal control officials consider this skunk species to be in the greatest need for conservation and anyone who spots one of these skunks should notify their local animal control center.
Have you ever seen an eastern spotted skunk in the wild?