Variation in home range and use of habitat in the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis)

Authors

  • Andrea Bixler,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1606, U.S.A.
    • *All correspondence to: A. Bixler, Department of Biology, University of Missouri-St Louis, 8001 Natural Bridge Road, St Louis, MO 63121, U.S.A. E-mail: abixler@jinx.umsl.edu

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  • John L. Gittleman

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1606, U.S.A.
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    • Department of Biology, Gilmer Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, U.S.A.


Abstract

We studied home-range size, home-range overlap and use of habitat in a population of striped skunks Mephitis mephitis in eastern Tennessee. Variables determined to influence home-range size were season and body weight: skunks had larger ranges in the spring than in winter and heavier females had larger ranges. Habitat, sex and sample sizes of radio-fixes did not correlate with home-range size. All home ranges overlapped by 1.4–100% of the range area. There was no pattern of greater intersexual than intrasexual overlap; this differs from many other carnivore studies. Movements of individuals and distribution of den sites indicated that striped skunks, irrespective of sex or size, prefer edge habitat in comparison to forest or field.

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