Digestive System For Striped Skunk
Most small mammals have very similar digestive systems and skunks and cats have many parallels with their bodily functions. For years, scientists believed that cats and skunks were in the same family and closely related, and while that theory has been debunked, cats and skunks do have very similar digestive systems. They both have the same organelles which have the same rudimentary functions. Unlike the cat, the skunk has a very acidic stomach, which is where the food is broken down, allowing the skunk to eat raw food without having problems digesting it. This is good because the Striped Skunk is a very opportunistic feeder and it will eat whatever it comes across and its digestive system has adapted to allow more food to be digested.
Pathway Of Food In The Striped Skunk
- Mouth: when food enters the mouth the teeth use mechanical digestion to start the digestion along with digestive enzymes produced in the mouth
- Esophagus: after the food is chewed into a small ball it goes down the esophagus, which acts as a transport tube
- Stomach: all of the food is chemically digested in the stomach, but with some churning inside it works as physical processing
- Small intestine: as the digested food goes through the small intestine the main absorption of nutrients happens
- Large intestine: after the nutrients are absorbed out of the food, the water must be absorbed
- Rectum: now the food, which is not really food anymore, has the last water absorbed from it in the rectum before it is dispelled from the body
- Anus: after all of the nutrients and water are taken out of the food, it is disposed of through the anus
What Striped Skunks Eat
Oxygen For Everyone
Skunks need oxygen like very other organism for the process of cellular respiration which is how organisms make energy. "Cellular respiration allows organisms to use (release) energy stored in the chemical bonds of glucose (C6H12O6)."1 Oxygen is needed in this bond and when the bond is broken CO2 is released along with water and energy (ATP). The chemical equation for cellular respiration is C6H12O6+O2 ---> H2O+CO2+APT and it all happens inside the mitochondria. As you can see in the picture to the left one of the byproducts of energy creation is CO2, which is dispelled the same way oxygen is absorbed, through diffusion. CO2 diffuses out of the body through the capillaries and into the alveoli after being transported by blood.
In the picture to the right it displays a cat's Respiratory System which is very simliar to the Striped Skunk's and most small mammal's respiratory systems. The striped skunk obtains oxygen through the surrounding air like humans do, by breathing. Respiration happens when air travels through the mouth, nose, trachea, and lungs. The air enters through the nose and mouth, by the larynx, then enters down the trachea where the pipe divides into two different smaller tubes called bronchi then into even smaller tubes called the bronchial tubes which take the air into the lungs. The diaphragm is used throughout this process to help pump air in and out of the lungs because the lungs absorb the oxygen and don't pull the air in. In the lungs the bronchial tubes divide into many smaller tubes which connect to the alveoli that are surrounded by capillaries. The air passes through the alveoli and oxygen diffuses into the capillaries to be transported into the bloodstream and CO2 diffuses out of the capillaries at the same time.
The Striped Skunk like all mammals are warm blooded and rely on their nervous systems to regulate body temperature, heart rate, and many other actions. The nervous system regulates all actions regardless of if they are voluntary or involuntary and this includes pain to most movements. The nervous system is connected to the brain as you can see in the picture of the cat's nervous system which is extremely similar to the skunk's nervous system. From the brain, nerves travel down the spine to every part of the body controlling and regulating all of the skunk's actions.