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When Do Skunks Hibernate? #Amazing Facts

If you have been a cautious home owner, you should be aware of the rodents and reptiles coming to take shelter in your backyard in winter. And that is precisely what should give you an idea of when do skunks hibernate. If at all they do.

So, when do skunks hibernate? Skunks do not hibernate in any weather. That means skunks do not hibernate in the strict sense of the word. But, they tend to be dormant in the winters and exert less pressure on their body. But, they do NOT hibernate the way other animals hibernate by suspending all their activities.

when do skunks hibernate

Do Skunks Really Not Hibernate?

Skunks do not hibernate in a way that has been quite common with other animals that do so. They tend to sleep for most of the winter and tend to save energy. But, do not go into complete hibernation.

During the winter months, the body temperature of the skunks will go down. Even the metabolism considerably slows down. This is sole because of the fact that food is quite scarce during the winter months. In sharp contrast to other hibernating animals, skunks spend their time sleeping for shorter durations of time. Ideally, you will find them sleeping during the day.

Do Skunks Hibernate in the Winter?

Skunks DO NOT really hibernate in the winter. In fact, they are not designed to hibernate. Unlike most other hibernating animals, skunks spend a few shorter durations of inactivity – especially during the day – in winder and do not go into a complete hibernation.

Skunks are more prone to the habit of going out and foraging for food during the winter months. However, there is no strict rule that they will follow in this period. They will move out in the night during winters only if they need food.

But, yes, they prepare for winter well in advance. The skunks are known to gain weight just a couple of weeks before the winter sets in. They will eat as much as they can to gain weight so that they do not have to starve during the winter months when the food is scarce.

Well, you need to know what do skunks actually do or go in the winter.

What do The Skunks do In The Winter?

What do The Skunks do In The Winter?

During the winters, skunks usually go into a state called Torpor. This is a sort of lethargic sleep where the animal will not fall into a complete state of hibernation. Female skunks tend to get together in the winter and spend time together. You may find as many as 12 female skunks in a den.

During winter, skunks would prefer to stay in a place that gives them enough warmth so that they can survive through the coldest phase of the winter. Of course, they do not build their own dens or burrows but tend to live in the holes and dens left by other animals such as foxes. While they can dig burrows, they prefer living in the abandoned dens or holes.

Where Do Skunks Go in The Winter?

Where Do Skunks Go in The Winter?

Skunks tend to go to the warm dens in winter. Skunks ideally live in groups, and when the winter approaches, they would have even a larger group to keep them warm. It can be seen female skunks grouping themselves and living in the abandoned dens during the winter.

where do skunks go in winters

Around 10 to 12 female skunks will group together and move to the dens to spend the winter in a group. These dens are called Communal Dens. You may also find a communal den with a skunk and her babies. The male skunks too may group together and spend the winter in a group, but the tendency may not be universal.

The skunks will spend the winter months in a state of lethargic sleep, moving out only when they are in need of food. The state of torpor or lethargic sleep will extend between December and March in the northern hemisphere. They will lose around 25 to 30 percent of their body weight during these months. This is one of the reasons why skunks eat excess food and gain weight so that they have enough fat that they can burn during the winter.

Skunks are picky when it comes to the best spots to spend during winters. They would try finding a place that is extremely hard to find. Sometimes, they may even prefer to spend the winters under a pile of leaves and logs. If they live in dens or holes, they will close the entrance to their dens with grasses and leaves.

What do Skunks Eat in The Winter?

Skunks search for their food by digging. They feed more on grubs, and they would find grubs in plentiful during the winter months. Since grubs are found lying on the ground, they would serve to bee their staple diet.

Other than the grubs, skunks also tend to eat other food items if available. Some of these food items include eggs, snakes, insects, worms, and other small animals. If anything is not available, they will spend the winter months eating frozen berries,  grass, nuts, roots, and leaves.

While they may not have a specific time when it comes to moving out for food, they may be found foraging for food during the night. Skunks are known to be nocturnal animals, and it may be practical enough to find them moving out for food at the night.

Closing Thoughts on Skunks Hibernation

Well, as you might have clearly found out, skunks DO NOT hibernate as in the conventional sense of the word. However, they may spend most of their time in an inactive state, but their period of inactivity usually is of shorter duration. They are not entirely inactive but tend to spend most of their time sleeping.

They would continue spending their time during the winters in a home they choose in a state of torpor and stay awake from time to time. It should not be a surprise to find a skunk making a home in your property or garage during the winter months. If that happens with you, make sure you get professional assistance in removing them.

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