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Burrow Excavation by an Eastern Spotted Skunk and Visitation by a Long-tailed Weasel

Gregory P. Detweiler1,*,Stephen N. Harris1, Colleen Olfenbuttel2, and David. S. Jachowski1

1Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, Clemson University, Clemson, SC 29634. 2North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Pittsboro, NC 27312. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist,Volume 20, Special Issue 11 (2021): 234–240

In this field note, we detail video evidence of Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk) further excavating a den site that was subsequently visited by Mustela frenata (Long-tailed Weasel). In October 2019 in Burke County, NC, we tracked a radio-collared Eastern Spotted Skunk to a small ground burrow. A camera trap was set outside the den entrance for 7 days. During this period, we observed that the burrow was occupied by 1 or more individual spotted skunks, and concurrently occupied by 2 spotted skunks on at least 1 occasion. The burrow was further excavated by 1 of the spotted skunks, representing the first recorded footage of this behavior in the Eastern Spotted Skunk. On 1 occasion, between visits to the den by the spotted skunks, a Long-tailed Weasel investigated the burrow. This observation represents one of the first close associations between these cryptic species.

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