Fun Facts on Skunks

Spotted skunks do handstands before they spray. Striped skunks are the most common. There are also Hog Nose Skunks and Hooded Skunks. Skunks are part of the weasel family. That oily liquid that skunks spray in defense is actually yellow. A great horned owl will sweep down and snatch a skunk at night. They do not smell the offensive odor! A skunk can spray an attacker from 10 feet away! They can spray up to 23 feet is the wind is in their favour. Skunks aim for the face and eyes. Skunks are omnivores and eat fruit, insects and fishy. They will even eat rattlesnakes. Skunks will try anything in order not to spray. A spotted skunk will balance on its front paws in a handstand!

Other animals will go out of their way to avoid skunks as a food source. However, some animals like foxes, raccoons will share the same burrow with a skunk. Skunks will eat insects and small mammals. They will also eat grubs, bird’s eggs and fruit. Skunks live in many different areas including urban areas. They are nocturnal and active at night. When raising young males do not help the females. Skunks will stamp their feet, hiss and growl and raise their tail as a warning of an oncoming spraying. After a discharge it takes up to 10 days to replenish their supply. The glands that hold the spray can produce enough to hold 5-6 full powered sprays.

Skunks will mate in late winter and the young are born from mid-spring until mid-summer. Generally there are 4-6 young per litter. Young are weaned at 2 months and usually leave to make their own den by fall. The territories of the males partially overlap that of 2 or more female skunks. Usually, the territory size is just less than one square mile. Skunks are actually very social animals. However, they can carry rabies and be destructive to your lawn and home. Along with that their pheromones, feces and urine can attract other wildlife.

If you see a skunk in the daytime be careful. If they are showing abnormal behaviors like paralysis aggression, moving in circles, self mutilation then stay away and call animal control! In Minnesota it is illegal to tease skunks. There are many people who have skunks as pets. Of course the smell glands are removed. They are actually smart, inquisitive and fun if bred and trained properly.

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