Understanding Skunks: Unique skunk habits

Posted on

Skunks are the mammals belonging to the Mephitidae family. They are well known for their lingering smell caused by their spray. It is the most powerful defensive weapon of the skunks as they use it against their enemy when they sense danger.

Skunks are found all throughout North America and also in some parts of Mexico. In North America alone, 4 species of skunks are found with the most abundant being the striped one (scientifically known as Mephitis mephitis). The second most common skunk is the spotted one which is scientifically known as Spilogale putorius. The other species of skunk are the hooded skunks (Mephitis macroura) and the hog-nosed skunks (Conepatus leuconotus).

The average lifespan of a striped skunk is about 2-4 years and it weighs about 8 pounds. The average size of the skunk is about 20-30” long (including the tail). Although the most common fur colour is black and white, some skunks are brown or grey and a few are cream coloured. Moreover, skunks are also known for their unique habits as follows:


Skunks are known to release a powerful smell through their anal glands when threatened. They have two glands, one on each side of the anus. These glands produce a mixture of sulfur containing chemicals such as thiols traditionally called mercaptans which have a highly offensive smell. This odour is so strong that it is used for the purpose defense by the skunk.

Habitat and Nature

Skunks are extremely adaptable and opportunistic. They can thrive in many different habitats as long as food and shelter are available. Skunks rarely dig their own holes but they make dens in tree hollows and ground level openings under buildings and structures.

They are nocturnal and are mostly active during night. They are solitary animals mostly living and foraging alone.Skunks are generally non-aggressive and it would hardly attack anyone until and unless it feels threatened and disturbed. Spraying is not the first defensive weapon against animal control instead skunks first resist and try to scare animals by growling, spitting, flapping and shaking their tail.


Since skunks are solitary animals and prefer to live alone, mating season is one of the only other times when skunks tend to socialize. Skunks give birth to 1-7 youngsters in late April through June. The gestation period of skunks are approximately 66 days. Being that they are mammals, skunks feed their young ones by mother’s milk.


Skunks are known for making holes in gardens and lawns. They have strong forefeet which are well equipped with claws. These claws help them to dig holes. Skunks damage property and sometimes even den in the foundation openings of buildings. They even undermine sheds, decks and also damage many gardens because of their eating and digging behaviours.

Food habits

Skunks prefer an omnivorous diet typically preferring to dine on insects and grubs, but will also eat plants. Some also witness cases that skunks have damaged beehives in order to eat bees.

Skunks also carry many diseases such as rabies which can be transmitted when they bite an individual or another animal. They also carry many pests such as ticks and mites which are themselves carriers of many diseases. There are many methods for skunk control; Skunk traps, electronic repellents, and keeping a clean garden are the primary ones. However, before attempting to trap a skunk, you should call your local Humane Society or Wildlife Control professionals to determine the laws and regulations regarding the wildlife in your area. To make things easier, safer, and convenient for you call the professionals at an animal control company like Skedaddle this way, you can ensure that your skunk problems will be addressed properly. The best part is you can save money in the long run because you can be sure that future re-entries of skunks will be prevented. Skedaddle will make sure that you will never run into a problem with skunks ever again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s