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Skunks are one of the most distinctive and easy to identify species in North America, and the most common variant the Striped Skunk with its white stripe contrasting with the black fur is certainly not an animal that tries to blend in with its surroundings. Like most animals of this size they are not normally pack animals, however this certainly doesn’t mean that they live all of their lives alone. There are also seasonal changes that affect how social a skunk is likely to be, and all of these factors contribute to the fact that depending on their age and stage of development, skunks can either live in groups of alone.
The Normal Habits Of The Male Skunk
The natural instinct of the male adult skunk is to be a fairly solitary animal, as it will usually have a range that it will defend from other solitary skunks, and in these areas it will usually have food and water sources. The skunk does have the capacity to dig its own den if required, but in many cases it will prefer to take an unused den from another animal if the opportunity is available. While most skunks will be solitary outside of the mating season, in colder areas skunks will often share a den so that they can share their warmth during the colder weather, although these groups will usually be made up of one male and one or more females.
Skunks During Mating Season
The difference in behavior for skunks during mating season is quite drastic, as from February through until March, males will be actively looking for a female, or several female skunks, and they will often be roaming several miles a night. During this period the male can be polygamous, and may try to mate with several females during the season. While the males are active and social with females during the mating season, once they are impregnated and are starting the gestation period, the males will then move back to being solitary animals, and they take no part in rearing the young that they have helped to produce.
Females With Baby Skunks
Once a female has been impregnated then she will then start looking for a den, and in these cases, they will usually find their own den from which to raise their young, and in most cases this will be separate to the winter den that the female will have used. The skunk kits are very vulnerable when they are younger, so they will remain with their mother for several months before they are able to start moving on and looking for their own territories and dens. As with adults, males will have to go searching for their own territory, while females are a little more tolerant of other skunks living near them.
How This Affects Those Trying To Remove A Skunk
The key factor to note from this is that you will need to be careful if you are dealing with a skunk problem in the late spring and summer, as this is when you will find that the females will have babies in their nest. However, if you are dealing with a problem skunk, whether you use exclusion from a yard or garden or whether you trap and remove the animal, you will also have to check if there are any babies in the nest. Once you’ve removed the animal, it is also worth fencing the area and ensuring this is in good condition, and sealing the area where the skunk had been able to make its nest.
For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does skunk removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of skunks - my main skunk removal info guide.