Types of White Skunks
Video of the Day
There are four genera of skunks, each of which includes several species. The vast majority of skunks in every species are black or brown with white markings. However, now and then a skunk is born with far more white fur than usual. Domestic skunk breeders capitalize on these anomalies. Through selective breeding, they can produce pure white skunks as well as a range of other fur colors such as brown, gray, cream and apricot.
Striped skunks are the most common species in North America and the preferred choice of many domestic skunk breeders. Consequently, striped skunks are the species most likely to produce one that’s all white. The skunks are bred as pets, and people looking to adopt a skunk are generally attracted to exotic shades of fur. It is very rare to find an all-white skunk not bred in captivity.
The hog-nosed skunk gets its name from its long, hairless snout. The normal fur pattern for this species is a completely white back and tail with a black belly and legs. Although these skunks are not entirely white, the black portion is not very noticeable if the skunk is hiding in vegetation. Someone glancing at a hog-nosed skunk in the wild could easily believe they had seen a white skunk.
A tiny percentage of wild skunks are albino. This occurs when a skunk is genetically incapable of producing melanin, the pigment that colors the body. The red eyes are the distinguishing characteristic between albino skunks and other skunks with white fur. Other skunks, regardless of fur color, have dark brown or black eyes.
Blond and Lavender Skunks
Most skunks have a variegated fur pattern of spots or stripes. A blond skunk is a light-colored skunk that still has visible patterns in its fur. Some portions of the fur are creamy white and other portions are bright white. A skunk will very rarely have fur that is white with a slight purplish hue. This is a lavender skunk.
Types of White Skunks Video of the Day There are four genera of skunks, each of which includes several species. The vast majority of skunks in every species are black or brown with white
‘Skunk Whisperer’ talks about white skunks, how to de-skunk your pet
This mostly white skunk was spotted recently on Robert LaPlaine’s deck in Jamesville.
Bill Howe knows skunks. Some have called him a “skunk whisperer,” he said.
“I’ve only been sprayed once. That’s because I talk to them and calm them down before getting them a cage and covering them up,” said the 85-year-old Cortland resident.
For the past 35 years, Howe has been capturing them live in cages and either releasing them elsewhere or euthanizing them, depending on the situation. Apart from his job, he has trapped skunks during the state trapping season and sold their furs for personal profit. He’s slowed down this past year, though, citing health reasons.
Monday, a story on syracuse.com about a nearly all-white skunk spotted in Skaneateles sparked a flurry of comments from readers. Despite what some said, all-white or albino skunks are “few and far between. They’re not a common occurrence,” Howe said.
Howe said most of the skunks out there are more black than white.
The average Central New York striped skunk, he said, is more black than white. However, he does concede that there seems to be an increase the past few years in skunks that are more white than black on the local landscape.
“The one’s with a mostly white pelt are worth a few dollars more,” he said, adding the fur market changes yearly and currently the typical skunk pelt goes for about $5. “Actually skunk is a very good fur. The word skunk, though, scares some people away. It’s like the word snake. People shy away because of the word.”
Howe claims to have come up years ago with an effective liquid solution to de-skunking a pet (or one’s self) after getting sprayed by a skunk. “I figured it out long before it got all over the internet, “he said.
The de-skunking formula includes peroxide, baking soda and Dawn dishwashing liquid. “It works. Just don’t get it in your eyes or around (or in) your mouth,” he said.
How many skunks has Howe handled over the years? “Oh Lord, I wouldn’t care to guess – a lot of them,” he said.
Some comments by readers to Monday’s story noted a skunk won’t spray if one picks it up by the tail, or if it’s an all-white color.
Not true, Howe said. “If a skunk is old enough to be out walking around, it’s old enough to spray – no matter what color it is. And don’t try picking one up by the tail, either. “
(The following readers sent in their stories concerning all-white/albino skunks, or nearly all white ones.)
“We see this mama skunk from time to time hanging around our back deck. Her markings are interesting with all the white on her upper half. The best part was when she came down the hillside earlier this years with four little ones in tow – all with the same distinctive markings.”
-Robert LaPlaine, Jamesville
“There are MANY mostly white skunks in New York, as well as albino versions. The one in your article is not albino. It simply has mostly white fur.
“Back in the 80s I used to trap as a hobby. (I’d never kill an animal again) While getting ready to head out to check my traps, I almost stepped on a BROWN and white skunk in my driveway in North Syracuse. This guy was definitely brown, with no black coloring at all.”
Brad Bangson, North Syracuse
“White skunks are more common than you think. I’ve seen quite a few over the years. They usually have some black on the bottom of them. When I was a kid, there was actually an albino squirrel around my parent’s house. I tried trapping it to have it stuffed. It was the one of the coolest thing I ever saw when I was 12 years old. I still think about it to this day.”
Matt Paddock, Skaneateles
SEND US YOUR TRAIL CAMERA PHOTOS:
Has your trail camera taken an interesting, unique or downright funny photo lately of wildlife? Send your shots to outdoors writer David Figura at [email protected]
Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.
© 2021 Advance Local Media LLC. All rights reserved (About Us).
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local.
Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site.
‘Skunk Whisperer’ talks about white skunks, how to de-skunk your pet This mostly white skunk was spotted recently on Robert LaPlaine’s deck in Jamesville. Bill Howe knows skunks. Some have