Skunks are renowned for the horrible smell they emit when injured, frightened or mating. The odour can remain on pets and in ventilation systems for weeks or months. But these animals can also cause significant damage to buildings and landscaping. They are opportunistic animals that thrive in a diversity of habitats throughout North America. The following are some more skunk facts for Vancouver homeowners:
Underneath structures: Skunks are burrowers. In the wild they will dig into the ground at the base of a tree. In urban settings, they can be found underneath decks, sheds, porches, houses and other solid foundations. Once underneath, they will hollow out a bowl-shaped depression lined with grass and leaves.
Early in the year: Skunks mate between January and mid March. Interestingly, female skunks can store the male's sperm separately from her eggs in order to delay pregnancy until weather conditions are favorable. The gestation period is around 63 days long.
Litter size: Female skunks produce litters between 4 and 6 offspring (but it can range between 1 and 9).
Rearing: Baby skunks keep their eyes closed for the first 21 days and remain in the den for the first 6 to 8 weeks. After this time, the young will venture out for nighttime foraging with their mother.
Sexual maturity: Skunks are sexually mature after 9 to 12 months.
Time of day: Skunks are nocturnal and will venture out to forage most evenings.
Diet: Skunks are omnivores but prefer to eat plants, veggies, fruits, insects, grubs, small animals and eggs as well as anything left in accessible garbage cans.