Simple question. Do male skunks (striped skunk, eastern US/Canada if it matters) have teats? Occasionally want to identify road-kill, but don't know if teats are diagnostic for females. I believe they are for racoons.


1 Answer 1


Petrides, 1950, writes:

Male skunks have tiny nipples which are considerably smaller than those of juvenile females.

and also:

Female skunks which had bred could easily be distinguished from those which had not by differences in the size of the teats

So it sounds like the mere presence of teats is not sufficient to sex skunks, but the size is sexually dimorphic and is probably a reasonable guide with practice, though the differences may be more subtle for female juveniles vs. males.

For pelts, Petrides recommends sexing based on the presence of a penis scar; I presume that genitalia is likely a more reliable guideline than teats.

For roadkill where damage might make it hard to sex animals based on genitalia, Fuller et al found canine size to be highly predictive, though they suggest that a comparison group of sizes from animals of known sex be used for a particular region, so that might not be too helpful for sporadic sexing.

Casey & Webster 1975 discuss sex identification based on presence of Barr bodies in the hippocampus, but their technique would probably not be applicable to your use case.

Casey, G. A., & Webster, W. A. (1975). Age and sex determination of striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) from Ontario, Manitoba, and Quebec. Canadian journal of zoology, 53(3), 223-226.

Fuller, T. K., Hobson, D. P., Gunson, J. R., & Schowalter, D. B. (1984). Sexual dimorphism in mandibular canines of striped skunks. The Journal of wildlife management, 48(4), 1444-1446.

Petrides, G. A. (1950). The determination of sex and age ratios in fur animals. American Midland Naturalist, 355-382.


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