Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) DSC_0030

Lin spotted this Striped Skunk from our Honda CR-V at highway speed while we were southbound on ID Highway 20 from West Yellowstone MT to Moose WY in mid-April 2010. The more direct route from Yellowstone National Park to Grand Teton National Park via Yellowstone's South Entrance was still closed by snow. Given our avocation as wildlife photographers devoid of species bias, we quickly pulled over and grabbed our cameras. The skunk was foraging in snow along a stream that crossed the highway, where a concrete bridge abutment provided some measure of safety. It seemed to pay us no mind when, after taking a few photos while crouching behind the abutment, we ventured onto the snow in cautious pursuit. We followed at a distance of 50 feet until the skunk made a meandering U-turn and began closing the distance between us at an uncomfortable pace. Always the thoughtful one, Lin pointed out that the skunk seemed more agile than I in knee-deep snow, which triggered a tactical retreat on my part. But not before getting this shot and even a little bit of video from about 20 feet. That prompted some concern from Lin over the safety of her Nikon D-90, which I was using at the time, so I bid farewell to the skunk and returned to the car. In hindsight, we must have provided quite a spectacle for passersby as we trailed the skunk across the snow, cameras and tripod in hand. Things might have ended differently if the skunk had objected to our curiosity, but as things turned out the encounter yielded a fun and memorable addition to our species list.


  • Nikki the birdwatcher 5y

    Beautiful photo
  • Kieran Lindsey 4y

    This is such a beautiful shot! Thanks for using the Creative Commons license--I used this photo (with proper credit) to illustrate a recent blog post. If anyone's interested they can check it and the photo out here:
  • Maureen McCabe 3y

    Mephitis mephitis? beautiful animal! thanks for using a Creative Commons license. I used this photo to illustrate a post about skunk mating season on I have no idea if our skunks are Mephitis mephitis in this part of the US. I used the photo with credit and a link to your photostream. Love the story of stalking the skunk, glad it did not backfire on you.

    Thanks again.
  • amgad ramzy 8mo

    thanks for the awesome image. I have used it in my guessing iphone game "4 Hints 1 Animal".

    Here is the link to the game:

    The game will be live in apple store October 23, 2014, please go check it out and rate it or share it.

    If you have any questions or any concerns please email me at
  • rachelgreenbelt 7mo

    We would like to use your excellent photo for the non-profit, non-commercial SignTyp project at, which is working to create sign language picture dictionaries for 15 different sign languages around the world. Some cropping or highlighting of your photo might be needed. If you do not want this, please Flickr-email to rachelgreenbelt, so that we can remove your work from our project. The picture will be credited with a link back to your photo. Thank you, Rachel Channon for the SignTyp Project at the University of Connecticut
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Uploaded on April 24, 2010
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