Status and Distribution of the Eastern Spotted Skunk in Maryland: A Historic Review and Recent Assessment
Kelly J. Pearce1,2,3,*, Thomas L. Serfass2, James M. McCann4, and Daniel J. Feller4
1University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Appalachian Laboratory, 301 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD 21532. 2Frostburg State University, 101 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD 21532. 3Current address - Allegheny College, 520 N. Main Street, Meadville, PA 16335. 4Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife and Heritage Service, 301 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD 21532. *Corresponding author.
Southeastern Naturalist,Volume 20, Special Issue 11 (2021): 52–63
There have been no confirmed detections of Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk) since 1967 in Maryland. We summarized historical records, as well as recent studies from other available mammal projects completed in Maryland. We conducted camera-trap surveys between 2015 and 2018 at 33 sites in western Maryland. We sought information from outdoor recreationists, mail-surveys sent to licensed wildlife damage control operators (n = 56), and an online questionnaire of natural resources professionals (n = 149). We compiled 13 historic records, including 7 catalogued specimens. No Eastern Spotted Skunks were detected with our camera traps. Our call for public information did not result in any confirmed sightings, and there were no personal observations or secondary evidence reported by responding wildlife damage control operators (n = 10) or natural resource professionals (n = 49). It appears the Eastern Spotted Skunk may no longer be a permanent resident in Maryland. However, the state still retains potential habitat and is in close proximity to known populations in West Virginia, from which Eastern Spotted Skunks could potentially disperse to Maryland in the future.