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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 31, 2022

First tracking of an eastern spotted skunk litter from birth to independence

  • Gregory P. Detweiler , Stephen N. Harris ORCID logo EMAIL logo , Colleen Olfenbuttel and David S. Jachowski
From the journal Mammalia


We tracked a female eastern spotted skunk Spilogale putorius in North Carolina, USA, that gave birth to a litter of three kits in summer 2020. Using camera traps and radio-collars, we were able to monitor the movement and behaviors of the female and litter. We observed behaviors including food provisioning, play-fighting, and interspecific interactions. We tracked the movements of the kits past independence from their mother and documented dispersal events for two kits. This is the first known successful attempt to track eastern spotted skunk kits from birth to independence, providing new insights into the ecology of this cryptic species.

Corresponding author: Stephen N. Harris, Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634, USA, E-mail:

Funding source: Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid

Award Identifier / Grant number: WM-0322


We thank R.L. Sparks and the Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina for providing property access and for their support of this research. We also thank C.G. Dukes with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission for logistical support of this research.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: This research was funded by the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration Grant (WM-0322) and is a joint research project between the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and Clemson University.

  3. Conflict of interest statement: The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding this article.

  4. Research ethics: We followed the American Society of Mammalogists guidelines for wild mammals ( and complied with Clemson University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee protocol (# 2017-065) for all skunk trapping, processing, collaring, and radio-tracking for this study.


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Supplementary Material

The online version of this article offers supplementary material (

Received: 2021-06-18
Accepted: 2021-11-26
Published Online: 2022-01-31
Published in Print: 2022-05-25

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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