Feb 4, 2012

'Tis the season... of the skunk!

Duane releasing a skunk from
a trapper's 'humane' cage trap. 
In the past few weeks, WildRescue has received numerous calls about skunks. People have called with complaints about the noxious smell of skunk spray in their yards or under their homes. 'Tis the season!


The striped skunk is a house cat-sized mammal. Often considered a relative of the weasel and otter (mustelids), skunks are now classified under a distinct family, Mephitidae.


While these mostly solitary, nocturnal creatures inhabit wooded or brushy ecosystems, skunks are also common inhabitants of Suburbia.


Skunks are omnivores, consuming grubs, insects, rodents and other small vertebrates, fruit and seeds, crustaceans, and occasional carrion. In urban environments they are attracted garbage, compost piles, pet food, and rodent infestations - usually the result of bird feeders.


The striped skunk breeding season can begin as early as January, hence the increased activity we're experiencing. After mating, the pair will separate. The male is not involved in raising the young, which are usually born around the end of April. For more on the natural history of skunks, check out this link, HERE.


Skunks do not have good vision, instead relying on their keen sense of smell and sharp hearing. Below is a video of Duane releasing a skunk that a trapper had caught. You can see, a skunk will not alert to a person if they are quiet and still.





Want more? If you missed this PBS program, when you have time, check it out! It's about the secret lives of skunks. Not to be missed! 

Watch Is That Skunk? on PBS. See more from Nature.

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