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Citation. Sunquist, M. E. 1974. Winter activity of striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) in east-central Minnesota. The American Midland Naturalist 92(2):434-446.   [1521  CC]

Abstract. The winter activity of 23 radio-tagged striped skunks was studied on the Cedar Creek Natural History Area during 1967-1968 and 1968-1969. A reduction in activity was observed in November. Juvenile skunks were more active than adults in November. The average date (2 year) on which adult skunks began using their winter dens was 17 November as compared to 24 November for juveniles; this difference was significant. Skunks averaged 1-3 activity periods per day while inside their winter dens; 80% of these lasted 10 min. or less. The percentage of days on which X activity inside dens occurred increased, but not significantly, as the winter progressed, with juveniles showing a higher percentage of active days. Movements outside of dens were generally near the den entrance. Snow depth apparently limited movements from dens. The mean length of the winter denning period was 90 days in 1967-1968 and 115 days in 1968-1969. Temperature in an occupied skunk den averaged 6.7 C compared to an average of 2.2 C in unoccupied dens; temperature differences were significant. Weight losses during the winters of 1967-1968 and 1968-1969 averaged 49.0 and 57.6%, respectively; this difference was significant. Mortality related to winter denning was not markedly different between the 2 winters.

Keywords. striped skunk, Mephitis mephitis, radiotelemetry, winter activity

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