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Examination of Plains Spotted Skunk (Spilogale interrupta) Burrow Systems

Daniel J. Benson1,2,*, J. Clint Perkins1, Kamren P. Jefferson3, Robert C. Dowler3, Christine C. Rega-Brodsky2, and Richard D. Stevens1,4

1Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409. 2School of Science and Mathematics, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS 66762. 3Department of Biology, Angelo State University, San Angelo, TX 76909. 4Natural Science Research Laboratory of the Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 22, Issue 3 (2023): 352–363

Spilogale interrupta (Plains Spotted Skunk) and other species within the Spilogale genus have often been documented as using burrows for cover; however, schematics of a Plains Spotted Skunk burrow have only been documented once in the literature. While recovering 2 GPS radio transmitters in the Katy Prairie region of Southeast Texas, we excavated 2 active Plains Spotted Skunk burrows. Herein, we describe the schematics of 1 system that likely was excavated initially by a Geomys breviceps (Baird’s Pocket Gopher) and the general schematics of a second burrow system frequently used by a different radio-collared individual. Both systems contained an obstructed entrance and a detritus-filled central cavity and were in locations higher in elevation than the surrounding matrix. Our observations further confirm the 3 requirements for Plains Spotted Skunk diurnal rest-location usage—protection from predation, thermoregulatory benefits, and protection from inclement weather—while providing additional insight into the intricacies of the burrow system itself. Further research into the structure of Spilogale burrows is needed to improve future conservation and management efforts of the genus.

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