If it’s February, it’s Time to Get Scentimental!
Striped skunks are one of the most abundant and recognizable mammals in North America. Instead of blending in with the camouflage crowd, skunks show their flashy fur as a warning to would-be predators.
Skunks mate in late February through March in Ohio. After a gestation period of about two months, female skunks give birth to between two and ten babies called kits. Skunks are solitary except for mothers caring for their young. The kits stay with her until fall when they head out on their own.
Skunks don’t want any trouble, and the occasional skunk sighting in your neighborhood is not a cause for alarm. They use their powerful chemical defense spray only when they or their babies are threatened and they cannot escape. Even then, they give warnings – stamping their front feet, raising their tails, and hissing. If you encounter this, move away slowly and quietly. Here are more ways to coexist peacefully with skunks or deter them humanely:
• Never feed skunks!
• Keep cats indoors.
• Keep dogs leashed and inside at night (skunks are primarily nocturnal)
• Don’t leave unsecured garbage or pet food out overnight.
• Remove convenient denning sites for mother skunks such as stacked wood or rock piles from around your house.
• Use exclusion techniques proactively to prevent denning under concrete slabs, porches, and crawl spaces under houses. Contact SCRAM! if you need more information: https://www.ohiowildlifecenter.org/scram/