Washington’s inventory of fascinating residents includes two skunk sisters, who are supported at public expense, and have been living here quietly for about five years now, half of the time considered a reasonable life span for captive skunks.

The sisters, the National Zoo reminded us Friday, go by Trixie and Clementine and, the zoo noted, are among the “mini marvels” that make their homes in the Small Mammal House.

Not native Washingtonians, the two first saw the light of day at a Pennsylvania breeding zoo in May 2014 and went on exhibit in Washington in the fall of that year.

Although many people have never seen a skunk in the wild or even smelled one, the critters are readily recognizable to most followers of cartoons and comic strips.

In an age of color, both sisters remain garbed in the traditional black and white.

It is said that in the wild a skunk may live for about seven years.

In captivity, the life span may extend to 10.

As for the odor that gives skunks their celebrity, it is produced by glands. Apparently, Trixie and Clementine’s glands have been removed surgically to make the skunks more acceptable residents of the city, the zoo and the Small Mammal House.

It is not clear where or whether other members of their species live elsewhere under less controlled conditions in the woods and wilds of the Washington area, or how numerous they may be.