There are many different species of skunk, which break down into four distinct genera; species in the genus conepatus include the hog-nosed skunks, while the genus mephitis contains a hooded and striped skunk, the genus mydaus contains two types of stink badgers, also the newest members of the skunk family, and the genus spilogale has the spotted skunks — eastern, western, southern and pygmy. These skunk species share basic coat colors of black and white and reside around the world, although most live in the Western Hemisphere. However, despite belonging to the same family, different species of skunks live in various locations and show variations in behavior and physiological characteristics.
Most skunks, domestic and wild, have variations in their coat patterns and colors, which helps distinguish the separate species. Some skunks have coats that are nearly entirely black, while other species have coats that are mostly white. Hooded skunks, like skunks in other genera, have several distinct coat patterns. They may have one or two stripes, or patterns with both. Spotted skunks have many stripes, while hog-nosed skunks have just one. Stink badgers, like hooded skunks, may have one or two stripes, or a combination of both.
Although they have some differences, skunk species share some commonalities. They have special glands that emit harmless but bothersome scents, have litters between two and 12 offspring and maintain carnivorous diets.