Rest site selection of plains spotted skunks (Spilogale putorius interrupta) in a Texas coastal prairie

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2021-05

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Abstract

The eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) is a species of conservation concern across much of its range and has undergone a population decline since the mid-1900s. The plains subspecies (S. p. interrupta) is a potential candidate for listing as an endangered species, and habitat selection for the subspecies is understudied in Texas. Our study investigated the rest site selection of plains spotted skunks occurring on a remnant portion of coastal prairie in Harris County, Texas. From 2019 – 2021, we fitted 30 skunks with GPS radio-collars, tracked them weekly to diurnal rest sites, and compared local habitat characteristics of 426 rest sites to random, paired sites. Our discrete choice analyses indicated plains spotted skunks were selecting rest sites for cover (wi = 1.000), specifically small-sized brambles of southern dewberry (Rubus trivialis) and Macartney rose (Rosa bracteata). This may provide plains spotted skunks shelter while retaining potential for foraging between brambles.

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Keywords

spotted skunk, Spilogale putorius, rest site selection

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