Long-tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata) This curious long-bodied animal can occasionally be seen moving rapidly through the brush in search of small rodents and birds. Its yellowish-brown body and daytime activity periods make it reasonably easy to observe. It is generally unafraid of people and will sometimes sit on its rump with its body erect and look directly at you as if to challenge your right to be in its territory. They breed in the latter part of the summer and after a gestation period of 279 days the six to nine offspring are born in the spring. They have very well-developed scent glands and have a very strong odor.
Skunks (Mephitis spilogale) The striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) and the smaller spotted skunk (Spilogale putorious) can occasionally be observed during the daytime but are primarily nocturnal animals which move through both the upland and lagoon areas of the Reserve. The spotted skunks are much more active and graceful than the striped skunks and have a very curious method of protecting themselves. In addition to erecting its tail, it will stamp its forefeet on the ground and, if pushed even further, it will do a handstand on its front feet, all the time with its beady eyes watching you intently and with its scent gland on the ready. This has an excellent advantage in that, if a dog or coyote approaches the animal and bites it, the part of the animal that is presented next to the predator is the tail, which has dense hairs and would not cause any particular problems if it was bitten. In addition to this, the predator gets a full face spray of the scent which would deter it. The striped skunk usually will make short rushes towards an adversary, growling and stamping the ground with its forefeet, and if molestation continues, it will spray the oily secretions of the scent gland directly into the face of the intruder. Both species are insectivorous and also feed on rodents, small bird eggs, and will occasionally raid a trash can.
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