About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What else smells like skunk

Love is in the air. Sadly it smells like skunk. With the warm weather last week the skunks have been out and about searching for mates. During the breeding season, they may travel miles to seek a partner. This often requires road crossings. And as you probably know a skunks defense against an approaching predator is to turn and spray noxious liquid from their scent glands. In the battle between car and skunk, skunks never back down but cars always win.

March is the normal breeding season for the Michigan’s native Striped Skunk. They are recognized easily by their fluffy black fur with a white stripe that begins as a triangular shape on the top of the head, splits into two stripes down the sides of the back. The species lives in a variety of habitats, including woods, fields, lawns, and other clearings. As an omnivore, it feeds on a wide variety of seeds, insects, grubs, berries, and carrion.

Although skunks will sometimes den up together in winter, for the most part they live solitary lives. Usually skunks reproduce only once a year, sometime between February to April. After mating, the pair no longer associate with each other. Females can even become aggressive towards males through vocalizing, stamping their feet and fighting if necessary.

Gestation lasts about two months. After birth, the young do not open their eyes until about three weeks of age and are typically weaned at six to seven weeks. It is at this time they learn to forage and hunt by following their mother in a single file line during her outings. Young rely on the protection of their mother, during this time she will display extremely defensive behavior. Male young become independent by July or August, while the female young may remain with their mother until the following spring.

Source:  http://animaldiversity.org/site/accounts/information/Mephitis_mephitis.html
 
Related articles 
Do skunks hibernate? http://do-skunks-hibernate.html
When do bats hibernate? http://bit.ly/vvaTGn  

When do Chipmunks hibernate? http://bit.ly/uGhBOB
Do opossums hibernate during winter? http://bit.ly/u4ORP6
Migration vs. Hibernation http://bit.ly/sixWTH
Feb. 2nd groundhogs end their hibernation http://bit.ly/vPHVtx

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