Requesting help re: mammal sign in N. Georgia

Hello all,

Recently I explored a riparian tract along the Chattahoochee River just north of Atlanta, Georgia (USA). In open, wooded thickets, some distance from the water and rather steep river bank, I found a number of small, shallow mammalian digs – photo of one attached herein. These were situated in several locations, some distance apart. The soil was moist and soft. The digs were rather neat and showed no claw marks, unlike canine digs (for which these were also too small). No tracks were evident.

As far as I know, such digs are a classic sign of Striped Skunk, which would constitute a very good find for this area. Skunks do occur here but they are scarce and seldom observed.

However, Virginia Opossum is also a possibility and it is common locally. Further, someone raised the possibility of a Nine-banded Armadillo which makes similar digs. This animal does not inhabit the immediate vicinity but does occur in adjacent areas of the state, not terribly far away, so its local presence cannot be ruled out entirely. It has been expanding its range. Nevertheless, it is unexpected here and much less likely than a skunk.

Less likely, it was a Raccoon, which is a regular resident. I believe that the other possible candidates – Shrews, River Otter, Mink, Bobcat, Red or Gray Fox, Muskrat and other rodents – wouldn’t dig repeatedly like this.

Would anyone be able to advise on the digger’s ID ?

Thanks in advance and best regards,

– Eran Tomer

Atlanta, Georgia, USA


  • Vladimir Dinets

    Do you have a photo with some object for scale?

  • Vladimir Dinets

    3 inches is not that small – it rules out chipmunks (but not squirrels) and birds. I don’t think it’s possible to be 100% sure, but they do look like typical skunk digs.

    • Eran Tomer

      Thank you much. Several other factors suggest a skunk too, and point away from other candidates. (E.g. the number of digs, their spatial spread in the area, their similar age [made on a single night] etc., plus the relative scarcity of squirrels there). So, I’ll go with a tentative Striped Skunk ID. (While the unlikely possibility of an armadillo still taunts me somehow).

      Best regards,

      – Eran

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