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20 January 2017 Den-site selection of eastern spotted skunks in the southern Appalachian Mountains
Tyler R. Sprayberry, Andrew J. Edelman
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Abstract

The eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) is a small, nocturnal omnivore that was once common throughout the eastern United States, but has declined over the last 75 years. We examined den-site selection of eastern spotted skunks in the southern Appalachian Mountains of Alabama from December 2014 to February 2016. We compared the local habitat characteristics of 97 den sites from 8 individual skunks with paired random sites. Dens were most frequently located in burrows, but were also found under uprooted trees, between rocks, in tree stumps, and in tree cavities. Skunks never communally denned and individuals frequently reused the same den. Den sites were located in densely forested areas with greater woody understory cover, midstory cover, and snag density and less overstory density than nearby random sites. Dense understory and midstory around skunk den sites likely provided protective cover from predators, particularly owls. Snags may provide additional cover for spotted skunks while offering possible denning or foraging habitat. Habitat management for eastern spotted skunks in the southern Appalachian Mountains should include retention and promotion of dense understory and midstory cover.

© Crown copyright 2018. This article contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0 (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/).
Tyler R. Sprayberry and Andrew J. Edelman "Den-site selection of eastern spotted skunks in the southern Appalachian Mountains," Journal of Mammalogy 99(1), 242-251, (20 January 2017). https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyx168
Received: 22 November 2016; Accepted: 4 November 2017; Published: 20 January 2017
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