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striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) Distributed from southern Canada to northern Mexico. Body length 28-38 cm, tail - 19-44 cm, weight - 0.8-2.5 kg. Inhabits flat areas with tree plantations, meadows and agricultural lands. The striped skunk is rarely seen more than three kilometers from a water source. This is a nocturnal animal. During the day, he sleeps in an underground hole and emerges from the shelter only at dusk. Prefers to use the burrows of other animals, or uses natural niches and cavities under tree stumps or buildings. If necessary, it can dig holes itself, using its long front claws. Typically, a striped skunk burrow consists of several chambers and entrances. By autumn, skunks accumulate a solid layer of fat and from November to March fit into the winter sleep. Throughout the cold period, females remain in their dens, and males (during the warming period) leave their nests for feeding. Usually several females with their young gather in such a den. When in danger, the striped skunk first assumes a threatening posture - warningly lifting its tail, turning back to the enemy. If this does not help, then he releases a stream of oily, foul-smelling liquid (butyl mercaptan) from his prianal glands located to the right and left of the anus. Both jets merge into one, and are sprayed with fine rain at a distance of up to 4 meters. If it gets into the eyes, the liquid causes temporary blindness. After a while, tears clear the eyes of butyl mercaptan. The skunk is an omnivore. 70% of its diet is insects, the rest is small mammals, fish, crustaceans, grass, fruits, grains, nuts and carrion. The female gives birth to one litter per year. Pregnancy lasts 60-70 days, the strip of which appears from 2 to blind and deaf puppies. At the age of eight days, they can already spray the enemy with a caustic liquid, and at 24 days, when their eyes are opened, they will be able to "shoot" aiming. Puppies begin to leave the nest only after 1.5 months. Lactation lasts up to 2 months and at the same time the cubs begin to go hunting with their mother. Young skunks leave their mother at about one year of age, just after reaching puberty.