Skunks belong to the weasel family of animals and have been one of the neo breed of pet animals. They are quite cute – except for that smell they emit for driving away from the enemies. Of course, you can get those glands removed and ensure that your pet skunk is quite good when it comes to getting petted.
However, what if you have a pair of skunks and love seeing their cute little ones? Well, that is precisely why you are trying to find out when do skunks have babies. You would also want to know what do the baby skunks eat and what you can do to make them comfortable. Well, let us explore Skunk mating and find when do they have babies.
When do Skunks Have Babies?
Before we go into the complete details, let us answer the query succinctly first, when do Skunks have Babies?
Skunks, irrespective of their breed, are known to breed and mate between February and March. You should be able to smell that they are in the breeding season as the male skunks begin to court the mates and females emit smell to repel them if they are not interested. The babies should appear in April and May.
The Mating Season of the Skunks Begins in February
Skunks are known to be less active during the winter months. Of course, they do not hibernate like a host of other animals but do not live an extremely active life either. They are nocturnal and will leave their dens only in the night to search for prey or any other food.
As soon as the summers tend to arrive during the month of February, you would witness the male skunks looking for females for mating and breeding. You may expect them to travel long distances during the mating season. In some cases, you would find that they would travel to up to five miles. However, in most of cases, you would find them travel a mile or at the most two.
Once a female is impregnated, she will not allow any male in her vicinity. She repels them with the foul smell. She will leave the winter den she had been living in so far and moves to own den. She collects plants and other materials to prepare the bedding for the little ones.
The Skunks Give Birth to the Babies in April and May
The gestation period of a skunk lasts around 60 days. The mother skunk will give birth to the litters in April or May. The number of litters would be approximately four to seven in each pregnancy. These litters are given birth and raised in the same maternal den.
The mother skunk gets quite aggressive during the span of raising the kids. The older skunks are likely to come into estrus or heat during the initial phase of the breeding season, while the younger ones may take a little while to get ready and mate.
How Many Babies do Skunks have?
Well, that would be something we may not be able to provide a clear answer to. Ideally, each litter can consist of babies anywhere between four to seven. The older female skunks tend to produce litters of larger size. A too younger skunk may produce a litter of just two babies.
The standard litter size would be around two to ten. Each of the babies would weigh approximately 35 grams at birth. The babies will have no coats, but have striped patterns on their body. They would open their eyes in around three weeks of age. Weaning occurs in about 8 weeks.
The complete parenting is handled by the female skunk, and the male skunk has no role to play in raising the babies.
What are Baby Skunks Called?
Skunk babies are called Kits. Sometimes, they are also called kittens. In certain regions, the skunk babies are also called pups. Kits are blind when they are born, and open at the age of three weeks. The babies need to be taken extreme care during this period.
It would also be interesting to know what is a group of Baby skunks is called? While they are referred to as litter when they are just born, the group of skunk kits or skunk babies is called Surfeit.
What do Baby Skunks Eat?
For the first six weeks of their lives, the skunk kits are taken care of by their mother. Later, the baby skunks initially eat fruits and vegetables; and going forward, they would also learn to catch and eat small prey such as insects.
Mother Skunk feeds the kits during the first few weeks period and then takes them out. The mother skunk teaches her kids everything they need to live an independent life. They are taught to find grubs and dig into the ground.
In case you have brought a baby skunk or have found an orphaned baby skunk, it may be a good idea to consult a vet to ascertain the age of the kit. If the baby skunk is separated from the mother, it is likely to be suffering from chill and dehydration. You can serve a warmed rehydration solution to the kit. You should also warm it thoroughly.
Pedialyte can be one of the best rehydration solutions, and you should be able to find it from the drug stores. Use a good milk replacer to feed the baby skunk. The esbilac should be an excellent option for milk replacer. Never ever feed cow milk, human baby foods, or other food products that are processed. These foods are not suitable for baby skunks and can cause them to develop severe illness. In fact, they can even cause death.
After about 4-7 weeks, you can introduce them to other foods such as natural foods, nuts, fruits, cooked meat, vegetables, and eggs. You can even introduce small insects such as mealworms or crickets.
Baby skunks should be fully weaned by the end of six weeks and begin living their own life by the first year. During their baby days, they can eat fruits, vegetables, small mammals such as mice, rats, chipmunks, ground squirrels, rabbits, snakes, insects such as snails, slugs, roaches, worms, grubs, spiders, dead animals, eggs, leaves, grains, nuts, trash and pet food left out.
Can Baby Skunks Spray?
Well, the glands for spraying should ideally develop by the time the baby skunk has weaned. The ability to spray should begin quite early, and you would definitely witness the baby skunks beginning to spray its enemies.
In fact, some of the skunk babies will start subtly spraying when they are just a few weeks old. Of course, they will learn the spraying techniques adequately enough by the time they reach the age of three months.
However, it should be noticed that skunks do not spray as an act of some random behavior. They do not spray to disrupt others. The fact that a skunk has begun spraying on your or any other animal would mean that the skunk is either very much scared, has been startled, and perhaps suffered an injury and is in pain.
However, the spray from a baby skunk would not be as pungent as that from an adult one.
The Closing Thoughts
Well, that should accurately answer your question and help you find out the answer to when do skunks have babies. Of course, in addition to answering your question on when do those pretty animals have babies, we have also helped you understand a few aspects of how to handle the baby skunks and take extreme care of these animals.
Check out those tips, and we are sure they would help you pet a skunk and then take care of the baby skunks in a more efficient way.
YardPals does not constitute pet medical advice, please consult a licensed veterinarian in your area for pet medical advice. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other such affiliate advertising programs, which helps us earn a small commission when you buy a product from our affiliate link.
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