Birthing: 2-12 (average 5) young in March-June

Eyes opened: 17-21 days

Weaning (beg-end): 3-8 weeks

Active: Night time; year-round

Diet: Insects, rodents


The skunk is probably the best known but least understood mammal in North America, and can be found throughout the US, except in desert areas. Four kinds of skunks are native to the United States: most commonly found in Virginia is the Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis), and occasionally the Eastern Spotted Skunk (Spilogale putorius). The other two species are the Hog-Nosed skunk “Rooter Skunk” (Conepatus mesoleucus), and the Hooded Skunk (Mephitis macroura), which are both confined to the extreme southwest.

Skunk FAQ’s

I’ve been gone on vacation and a skunk has sprayed around my house. What happened?
The skunk, most likely soon to be a mother, is preparing a den. Look under porches, decks, and sheds for the signs of fresh digging. Skunks often borrow old groundhog dens. If she has not already given birth, slight harassment will speed her on her way. Skunks are less tolerant of people than most mammals.
I saw a skunk in my yard. What should I do?

This is not cause for alarm. Remove any attractants like preferred habitat, pet food left outside, garbage, or close in any elevated outbuildings. The skunk will probably keep to himself and move on before long. Check for any signs of digging a den.

I think a skunk has been in my garden! Should I worry?
Lucky you! Skunks eat many garden pests including grasshoppers, insect larvae, beetles and grubs. They have 1-2 mile ranges, so are probably only passing through.
I have trapped a skunk! Now what should I do?
Skunks usually live in a small area of a few acres and should not be relocated involuntarily. Usually when a skunk is live-trapped, the next question is: “How do I handle it without being sprayed?” Covering the trap with a towel or sheet is essential. Too often when a skunk is live-trapped, it ends up being euthanized rather than released, out of fear.

More about skunks

The Hidden Dangers and Effects of Feeding Wildlife

The Hidden Dangers and Effects of Feeding Wildlife: A Call for Responsible Interaction The allure of engaging with wildlife is tempting to many. Most people who feed wildlife think they are helping out, but in reality, they could be harming the very animals they love....

A Little Bit About Skunks

As most people know, skunks are those funny, furry, white, and black mammals that can cause a stink when they are cornered or threatened. But what most don’t know, is that there’s technically twelve types of skunks: the Striped Skunk, the Hooded Skunk, the Western...

If you are not certain what to do, call the wildlife Helpline: 703-440-0800

If you live outside Northern Virginia, please see the Resources Page for assistance.

Wildlife Rescue League - Viriginia
Wildlife Helpline 703-440-0800