Detailed study of radio-equipped individuals of the Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) in a North Dakota population provided insight into possible mechanisms for spread of rabies during spring and summer. Annual recurrence rates of 138 skunks marked on a study area averaged 11% for adult males, 43% for adult females and 9% for kits. Population changes were from mortality (including rabies) and dispersal. Five instances of adult dispersal (four by males) were recorded; maximum straight-line distance was 119 km. Some males initiated dispersal in spring. Communal denning by adults occurred rarely after whelping began but resulted in intraspecific conflict. Evidence of intraspecific and interspecific strife leading to kit mortality and some adult mortality was found at dens of 9 of 40 litters studied.
Additional publication details
Recurrence, mortality, and dispersal of prairie striped skunks, Mephitis mephitis, and implications to rabies epizootiology