Mother skunks will take out their babies for food at a very young age. Baby skunks start to explore with their mother about 5-6 weeks old. They follow their mother very closing, usually in a straight line nose to tail. If the babies loose the scent of their mother, they will cry to get the mother’s attention. Skunks do not climb, so putting the babies into a container will not work. It might be better to place a laundry basket over them. If possible rig the basket in a way that you can lift it up without approaching the basket. Mother skunk will have a hard time lifting the basket up to retrieve her young. You can even walk up to the basket and lift it off yourself. You must walk slowly and speak softly as you slowly approach. If the mother starts stomping her feet, STOP! She doesn’t feel safe. Just keep speaking softly. Talk to her for a few minutes. While she is watching you, start with one step at a time walking toward the basket again. Chances are good that she will realize that you are not a predator and let you raise the basket. When you remove the basket, walk backwards slowly and continue to speak softly. If she runs, walk slowly to the basket and retrieve the basket. Leave the area slowly. Mother skunk hasn’t gone too far, and will be back within a few minutes to retrieve her young.
Let’s first determine if they are real orphans.
I’m an orphan if…
- I’m next to my dead mother.
- If I’m wandering around by myself and the size of a small kitten.
- I’m injured (Do you see blood?).
- There are a lot of fly eggs on me.
- The family pet brings me home.
- I’m walking right up to you.
- I’m dehydrated and starving (I will be crying).
It is very rare to see a baby skunk walking around on its own unless it has been separated from its mother.
Reasons for separation are…
- Mother was chased and got separated from her young.
- Mother knows that she cannot take care of it and left the baby behind.
- Mother was killed and the babies are wandering on their own.
Skunks have very poor eye sight. So when you encounter a skunk in your presence, it’s best not to make any fast movements. Do not run, do not yell. Just slowly walk away in a non-threatening manner. Keep this in mind when you meet up with a skunk, if you are slowly walking up to it, not making a sound, it will think you are a predator and chances of you getting sprayed are good. Skunks do not like to spray unless they are threatened and they give you fair warning before spraying. Know the signs: they will stomp their feet at you, turn their body in a U-shape with the anus pointing at you and see what your reaction will be. Basically this is your last chance to get away, so start backing away.
If you do get sprayed, tomato juice doesn’t work, it just masks the odor. What does help is…
Skunk Deodorant Recipe:
1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
¼ cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1 teaspoon of dawn liquid soap
Mix well and wash affected areas.
Keep away from eyes, nose and mouth.