The entire stink about skunks!

Apart from the fact that they emit a horrible stench when attacked or threatened, there are a few facts you probably don’t know about skunks. There are four species of Memphis skunks found in North America and these are the hooded, the hog- nosed, the spotted and the stripped skunks. Skunks are generally wild, nomadic and solitary animals. They are poor climbers, nocturnal, nearsighted and possess a strong sense of smell. When in the cities, they like foraging in garbage cans and gardens for food.

A Tennessee skunk's mating habits
There are different species of skunks but their mating habits are basically similar. The mating season usually occurs in early spring and by then; the young who were born in the previous season are mature enough to mate. Skunks usually scavenge and stay alone but during the mating season and in the colder months, they join into a community and burrow together in dens.

The males are polygamous and usually mate with more than one female during the mating season.

During courtship, if the female does not appreciate the antics of the male, it will produce a stink to chase away the male, while the male will produce the stink to chase away the competition.

After mating, the female will move away from the den to prepare a separate maternal den for the babies. They usually prefer burrowing in dens which are stuffed with grass or other soft material.

When do Memphis skunks have their babies?
After mating season, a female skunk has a gestation period of 60 to 75 days before giving birth to a litter of around two to ten young ones. Different species of skunks have different breeding times. The striped, hog- nosed and hooded skunks will usually breed from February to March while the spotted skunk usually breeds from September to October. The striped skunk will therefore have their babies from April through May though some even push as far as June.

How do skunks raise their young?
A female skunk will give birth to a litter of young ones known as kits, whose number is usually between two to ten. The male skunk is not involved in the raising of the young skunks as this is the sole responsibility of the mother. The mother skunk aggressively defends her young and is usually ready to spray anyone she feels is a threat to them. The mother skunk usually makes her den underground or in a crevice where she can protect her young from predators

The kits are born blind and will not open their eyes until they are three weeks old. They are also covered with a thin layer of fur and do not have coats. At around eight weeks old, the young skunks are weaned and they start venturing out with their mother to forage for food.

Young skunks are raised for around eight months before they can venture out on their own. The females usually stay with their mother until they are one year old, and ready to reproduce. The average lifespan of a skunk is three years while in the wild.

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