Skunk Facts

National Geographic
BCSPCA
Animal Kind
Wildlife Rescue
Homestars
Better Business Bureau

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:

Habitat

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.

Breeding

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.

Food and Feeding

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.

Morphology and Lifestyle

  • Body length: 10-15 in
  • Tail length: 10-15 in
  • Weight: 1 - 4 kg
  • Vocalization: Usually silent but can produce a bird-like noise
  • Lifespan: Between 5 and 10 years

Did You Know?

  • Skunk fact: Skunks can spray their scent glands up to 15 feet.
  • Skunk fact: The skunk smell can remain on skin and pet hair for days, weeks and even months.
  • Skunk fact: Skunks have poor eyesight and as such, their awareness of their surroundings is limited.
  • Skunk fact: Skunk burrows can cause structural weakness in decks, porches, sheds and foundations.
  • Skunk fact: Skunks will dig up lawns and gardens to find food.
  • Skunk fact: Skunks can carry the rabies virus and not "look" infected.

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