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First Record of Consumption of a Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk) by an Alligator mississippiensis (American Alligator)

Author:
Harris, Stephen N., Holmes, Jordan B., Jachowski, David S.
Source:
Southeastern naturalist 2019 v.18 no.2 pp. N10
ISSN:
1528-7092
Subject:
Alligator mississippiensis, alligators, crocodiles, death, digestion, mortality, necropsy, poisoning, skunks, stomach, wetlands, Florida
Abstract:
Here, we detail the first confirmed consumption of a Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk) by an Alligator mississippiensis (American Alligator, hereafter, Alligator). In April 2017 in Osceola County, FL, we tracked a radio-collared Eastern Spotted Skunk to a wetland and discovered its remains inside the stomach of a deceased Alligator. We conducted a necropsy on the Alligator, but were unable to definitively determine the cause of mortality for either the Alligator or the Eastern Spotted Skunk. We believe this event represents the first record of a crocodilian predating a mephitid. Although the cause of the Alligator's death was unconfirmed, we believe there is a possibility that the Alligator succumbed due to toxicosis brought on by its digestion of Eastern Spotted Skunk spray.
Agid:
6485989