Why do skunks come out in winter?

Asked By: Akil Girard | Last Updated: 19th February, 2020
Category: pets large animals
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Although they are usually solitary, skunks sometimes spend the winter in groups in their dens to keep warm. Striped skunks do not hibernate during the winter. Skunks sometimes wake up from torpor during the winter. If the temperature is above 30 degrees Fahrenheit, they may leave the den to forage for food at night.

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Similarly, you may ask, why are skunks out in the winter?

During the colder winter months, several skunks will gather and share the same den. Skunks do not hibernate but generally remain inactive during winter, surviving on their fat stores. However, they may leave the winter den for short periods during warm weather.

Also, can skunks freeze to death? According to Michigan State University Extension, skunks can lower their body temperatures about 10 degrees for short periods of time, but this does not give them the edge for winter survival. In harsh, snowy winters when there is deep snow and a lack of food to find, as much as 50 percent can die.

Similarly, how do you get a skunk to leave?

To get a skunk to leave, try using a flashlight to scare it off. Just shine the bright light on the skunk, which should stop it from coming any closer. You can also try shouting or stomping your feet to scare it off. If you have access to a hose, spray some water near the skunk until it runs away.

Do skunks get cold?

While they do not hibernate, skunks enter at times of extreme cold or heavy snowfall, a state called torpor. Torpor is a sleep that, like hibernation, slows the metabolism and allows the skunk to survive without being active.

37 Related Question Answers Found

What do skunks hate?

It may seem ironic, but skunks hate certain odors (as if they have room to judge). Citrus, ammonia, mothballs and predator urine (dog, coyote, etc) are three smells that can scare off skunks. If you use mothballs or ammonia-soaked cotton balls, be sure to keep them far away from children.

How far do skunks travel from their den?

Skunks are nocturnal and emerge from their dens at dusk. They do travel as much as a mile a night but seldom venture more than four miles from their den.

What do skunks like to eat the most?

For example, skunks favor insects, like grasshoppers, bees, beetles, beetle larvae, and crickets, and target these food sources during the spring and summer when the pests are most plentiful. During the winter months, skunks scavenge for fruits, nuts, garden plants, garbage, bird seed, and pet food.

What do skunks do at night?

Skunks, as you know, are nocturnal animals, which means nighttime is the only time they come out to hunt, eat, drink and build their homes in the ground. Skunks are around more often in early spring too when mating season begins.

What time of year are skunks most active?

Skunk Behavior
Activity: Skunks are nocturnal, so they are most active at night. They do not hibernate, but they tend to be inactive during the coldest months in winter, when many gather in communal dens for warmth. For the remainder of the year, skunks are generally solitary, living and foraging alone.

Will skunks leave on their own?

A: Skunks will take advantage of cavities under decks and sheds to raise their young. However, they will leave as soon as the young are old enough. The simplest option is to wait for the skunks to leave on their own, and then seal off their entry hole with hardware cloth if you don't want skunks to return.

Do skunks hate vinegar?

To eliminate this lingering odor, you will want to boil vinegar in a pan. The smell of vinegar will be lingering for a few days but after the vinegar odor is gone, your home will be skunk odor free.

What does a skunk look like?

Although the most common fur color is black and white, some skunks are brown or grey and a few are cream-colored. They may have a single thick stripe across back and tail, two thinner stripes, or a series of white spots and broken stripes (in the case of the spotted skunk). Some also have stripes on their legs.

Do skunks eat cats?

Skunks don't feed on cats either, however, they might attack small kittens that are left unprotected. Even though skunks don't directly feed on pets like cats and dogs, skunks can hurt pets, and they can hurt them very seriously. Skunks will act aggressive in self-defense, especially if they are cornered.

What does skunk droppings look like?

Skunk droppings look similar to those of a cat and are typically found in lawns and gardens. The waste is tubular, has blunt ends, and usually measures about a quarter to half an inch in diameter and one to two inches long. Skunk poop generally contains bits of undigested insects, berry seeds, fur, or feathers.

How do you scare a skunk away without it spraying?

A bright light or a motion sensor flood light will scare skunks away. Most animals, including skunks, dislike the smell of citrus fruits. Place orange or lemon peels around the yard as a natural skunk repellent. Predator urine (dogs, coyotes) can be used to repel a skunk.

What happens if I breathe in skunk spray?

High concentrations of skunk spray are toxic and potentially fatal to humans, according to a 1999 study in Chemical Educator. The powerful stuff has been likened to tear gas because it can cause temporary blindness, coughing, and gagging.

Will Irish Spring soap keep skunks away?

Take a bar of Irish Spring Soap, throw it under the shed, or your deck, or wherever the little culprits are and they won't stay around for long.

Is Animal Control a free service?

Animal control services provided by your local government is usually a free service to remove most domesticated animals and, less commonly, larger wildlife like racoons and feral cats. Animal control implies trapping and removing rather than extermination. It often requires multiple visits.

How do you keep skunks out of your yard?

Pepper sprays, also sold to repel squirrels and other wild creatures, are effective skunk deterrents. Spray them on trees and other areas where you've seen skunks. Ammonia also deters skunks. Soak old rags in ammonia and place them under your deck or porch to keep skunks from coming in.

What sound does a skunk make at night?

Homeowners that hear loud pouncing or hissing may have a pregnant skunk living under their porch. Skunk sounds also include tapping, tearing, and scratching that are created by their long, straight and strong claws. As these pests are most active at night, residents will mostly hear these noises after dark.

Do skunks eat dog poop?

That's ideal for skunks. They sleep in those areas or under decks and come out at night and cruise the yard and eat birdseed and dog poop.”