A Review of Camera-Trapping Methodology for Eastern Spotted Skunks

Casey G. Dukes, David S. Jachowski, Stephen N. Harris, Luke E. Dodd, Andrew J. Edelman, Summer H. LaRose, Robert C. Lonsinger, D. Blake Sasse, Maximilian L. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eastern spotted skunks Spilogale putorius are an understudied species that has experienced range-wide declines. Over the past 16 y, camera traps have become an increasingly common tool to monitor and understand their current distribution. To inform best surveying practices, we reviewed 16 camera-trap studies specifically targeting this species. We focused on reported latency to initial detection and three main aspects of study design: seasonality of detections, baits and lures, and camera-trap brands. Latency to initial detection ranged from 1 to 82 d with a mean of 17.1 d (SD ¼ 9.1). Attractants varied among projects, but most (75%) used sardines as bait. The percentage of skunk detections tended to vary across the year, with the highest percentage of skunk detections occurring in March (92%). We conclude by suggesting best practices and directions for future research techniques that will aid in developing more efficient methods to address key knowledge gaps for this elusive species. Given the long timeframes for latency to initial detection, monitoring individual sites for at least 4 wk, with the use of bait, is likely the best strategy to detect eastern spotted skunks. We encourage further experimental approaches on the effectiveness of different baits and lures, and methods to increase latency to initial detection. Collectively, we hope this leads to the development of a standardized monitoring approach that researchers can implement across studies and states within the eastern spotted skunk’s range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-305
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Fish and Wildlife Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • camera trap
  • eastern spotted skunk
  • lure
  • monitoring
  • Spilogale putorius

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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