A Natural History of Skunks


As any good Warner Bros. fan can tell you, all skunks have black fur with a single white stripe down the center of the back to the end of the tail. (Sometimes it is a pair of stripes, though they are set close together.) All skunks are like this.

All skunks.

I fear I must report that the documentarians at Termite Terrace actually got this wrong. For the past several years, we've been having nocturnal visits by skunks coming to eat the birdseed we put out for the squirrels. There is a wide variety of skunk colorations and it's been fascinating to see diversity of these gorgeous animals.

The skunks we see range from all black with a small bit of white on the head to black on the underside and white completely on the top. Most do have two stripes, but they tend towards being more like racing stripes and running closer to the sides of the body. I don't think we've seen any skunks that have parallel stripes running the center of the back from head to tail.

We haven't been able to get very good pictures, since they only come out at night and we don't have an enormous spotlight. Below are sketches I made to show the range of skunk colorations we've gotten. The sketches are overhead pictures of the skunks' bodies, without including the tails.

This guy looks like she has a giant block 'A' on her back and head.


He has a big white spot on the crown of his head and that's it.


This skunk has a small white cap on his head, with short stripes that only reach his shoulders.

Must I explain this name?

He has a mostly white top, with black on his sides and a small black back-stripe on the lower half of his back.

This drawing reminds me of Bun-Bun from Sluggy Freelance. Something tells me I'm soon to be deadmeat for comparing Bun-Bun to a skunk.


Similar to BB, since he has a large amount of white fur. However, he has a much longer black stripe up his back and it ends with a little finger of black.

This guy's almost entirely black except for an angled white stripe. It kinda looks like a thick white moustache, except it's on the top of his head.

Similar to Wishbone and Figaro, but her stripes are between the two in thickness. There's also that odd little white appendix at the end of the right stripe.


Last update: 06/12/23
Text and sketches copyright 2006 by Wayne Morrison, all rights reserved.
Photos copyright 2006 by Jo Morrison, all rights reserved.

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