We assessed den-site selection of Spilogale putorius (Eastern Spotted Skunk) in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia by radio-tracking 8 individuals to 83 dens from January 2018 to October 2019. We measured local habitat characteristics at den sites and nearby, presumed unused paired sites and compared the habitat predictors via binary logistic regression. Results from the averaged model indicated greater understory cover from stems of Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel) and Vaccinium spp. (Blueberry) and Gaylussacia spp. (Huckleberry), as well as medium to large rocks, and coarse woody debris increased the odds of a den site being used. Medium to large rocks were the most influential predictor of a den site. Our results suggest Eastern Spotted Skunks in this region would likely benefit from management practices that increase density of understory cover and coarse woody debris and preserve rocky outcroppings.
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Vol. 20 • No. sp11