Skunk species vary in size . They have moderately elongated bodies with relatively short, well-muscled legs and long front claws for digging. They have five toes on each foot.
Although the most common fur color is black and white, some skunks are brown or grey and a few are cream-colored. All skunks are striped, even from birth. They may have a single thick stripe across the back and tail, two thinner stripes, or a series of white spots and broken stripes .
Skunks are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal material and changing their diets as the seasons change. They eat insects, larvae, earthworms, grubs, rodents, lizards, salamanders, frogs, snakes, birds, moles, and eggs. They also commonly eat berries, roots, leaves, grasses, fungi and nuts.
In settled areas, skunks also seek garbage left by humans. Less often, skunks may be found acting as scavengers, eating bird and rodent carcasses left by cats or other animals. Pet owners, particularly those of cats, may experience a skunk finding its way into a garage or basement where pet food is kept. Skunks commonly dig holes in lawns in search of grubs and worms.
Skunks are one of the primary predators of the honeybee, relying on their thick fur to protect them from stings. The skunk scratches at the front of the beehive and eats the guard bees that come out to investigate. Mother skunks are known to teach this behavior to their young. The animals are known for their ability to spray a liquid with a strong, unpleasant scent.