Skunks are generally considered one of the least destructive pests in the US. In fact, we’ll go out of our way to say that they can act as natural pest control, as they tend to munch on smaller pests and rodents. But how many types of skunks are there? And are they all going to smother you with their smelly spray?
There are tons of different types of skunks in the US. The most common ones are the striped and hooded skunks. However, skunks are scattered all over the world, which means many types, such as hog-nosed skunks, will never grace you with their presence in your yard.
With this in mind, let’s look at all the fascinating skunk types that are common in sunny SoCal, as well as ones that can be found in the depths of South America and Southeast Asia.
How Many Types of Skunks Are There
In total, 10 types of animals belong to the skunk family. However, stink badgers are considered honorary skunks, as they’re very similar to them, increasing the number of different types of skunks to 12.
That said, skunks can be further divided into categories depending on their genus. In turn, the main types of skunks are:
- Hog-Nosed Skunks
- Striped Skunks
- Hooded Skunks
- Spotted Skunks
- Stink Badgers
For now, let’s focus on those located outside the US, starting with hog-nosed skunks.
Hog-nosed skunks can be distinguished from other types by just looking at their nose, which looks like a pig’s nose – hence why they’re called hog-nosed. They are among the largest type of skunks and are great at digging and sniffing out their prey.
Commonly found in Central and South America, their appearance will vary. Despite having a distinct nose and large claws, they might have a single or two white straps running along their back. Plus, some of them, like the Humboldt’s hog-nosed type, have various colors depending on their surrounding habitat.
Hog-nosed skunks are also divided into 4 types:
- American hog-nosed (Central America and Southern US)
- Striped hog-nosed (Central and South American coasts)
- Humboldt’s hog-nosed (South Argentina and Chile)
- Molina’s hog-nosed (South America)
While they are similar to badgers, stink badgers are more related to skunks, which is why they’re placed in the same family. The only stink badger species left are native to Southeastern Asia, so you’ll likely not encounter one running around your yard any time soon.
In terms of their appearance, stink badgers are a mix of badgers and skunks. They also have the same self-defense mechanism as skunks; the infamous skunk spray. The two stink badger species are the following:
- Palawan stink badger (Palawan, Philippines)
- Sunda stink badger (Indonesia and Malaysia)
Now that we’ve covered some of the different types of skunks in the world let’s check out which ones you’ll likely find in the States.
Common Types of Skunks in the US
There are several types of skunks in the US, from striped and hooded skunks to several species of spotted ones. However, the most widespread ones in SoCal are striped and Western spotted skunks.
If you’ve ever encountered a skunk in your yard, chances are that it was a striped one. These usually have two stripes running down their back and meeting at their head, forming a V-shape. Striped skunks can be found all over North America, from sunny California to Canada.
The most interesting thing about these is that they’re practically harmless. Sure, some might want to get rid of skunks, whether they’re destructive or not. But striped skunks have adapted to human presence, and they’re often a great form of rodent control, as they eat mice and rats.
Hooded skunks are basically the same as striped skunks, as they belong to the same genus. Their only significant difference is that hooded ones have a long white stripe running along their back, which gives off the appearance of a white hood. That’s also why these might sometimes be called white skunks.
This type of skunk is not native to SoCal but is present in Southern US and Central America. They’ll usually munch on anything they can find, even if that’s garbage, insects, or vegetables from your garden.
Spotted skunks are a fascinating skunk type. They’ll come in a variety of colors, and they live all over North America. As their name suggests, spotted skunks have small white lines on their back, which look like spots. But what makes them so fascinating?
Well, spotted skunks are great climbers, unlike all other types of skunks. Also, they’re generally more aggressive than other skunks, which is why they like to do their signature handstand dance before spraying anyone who aggravates them.
The different types of spotted skunks are the following:
- Southern spotted skunk (Central America)
- Western spotted skunk (Western US)
- Eastern spotted skunk (North America)
- Pygmy spotted skunk (Mexico’s Pacific coast)
The Natural Pest Control Method
With skunks being so prevalent in the US and having such a bad reputation for their skunk spray, many want them out of their yard on a whim. However, all types of skunks can be a great way to keep small rodents and insects away from your garden. But if you’re still having issues with these, we’re here to help.
At Green Rodent Restoration, we implement humane pest control methods to get rid of rodents all throughout SoCal. Unlike skunks, we’ll also provide attic cleaning services if they’ve made a mess up there. Contact us now for a free estimate, and we’ll get back to you immediately!