Boston's Museum of Science is excited to introduce its two new baby Striped Skunks! These babies arrived at the Museum on November 10. They were captive born on September 24. When they get a bit bigger they will begin their careers as education animals here at the museum. Best known for their powerful scent used as a defense mechanism, Striped Skunks are one of four species of North American Skunks and are native to New England. Most people can easily recognize the characteristic white striped marking which is jokingly referred to as "nature's stop sign".
Why is the Skunk black and white? It is typically most active at night and needs protection against its nocturnal predators. Since most nocturnal animals have more light sensing cells than color sensing cells in their eyes, a bright color would not stand out, but the distinct white stripe is easily visible. The stripe on skunks is unique to each individual. Can you notice the difference in these two skunks? Despite the warning signs, skunks do have a main predator and that is the Great Horned Owl. Owls swoop in above Skunks so it is hard for the Skunk to see them coming. Like most birds, the Great Horned Owl has a very poor sense of smell therefore it doesn't mind its smelly meal.