The spring season is the beginning of new life and also the mating season for many animals around the Chicago area, including the skunk.
As the weather starts to warm up, skunks increase their activity and begin their mating rituals in which female skunks will spray rejected male skunks and put their smell into the air.
Homeowners should keep an eye out for skunks around their property because they become more active during mating season.
If a skunk has become a problem around your home, it is best to call an animal control professional to remove it. For skunk removal in Chicagoland call 847-464-1861.
When is skunk mating season?
© Michael Jastremski for openphoto.net
Mating season for skunks will usually begin as early as February, slightly earlier than other types of wildlife.
The mating season may begin later in March if the weather and snow have created a more severe winter.
Older female skunks will seek out mates earlier than females born the previous year.
Related post: Skunks in winter – do they hibernate?
Skunk Mating Season and Habits
Males will begin searching for females mates in February or March. Usually, they will search within a mile or two of their den but they may travel up to 5 or six miles if they need to.
You will often become aware of the start of skunk mating season because, after a few months of skunk odor having disappeared, it comes back again, sometimes even when snow is still on the ground.
The increase in skunk smell is because they have become active again after resting in a state of torpor. It is also because female skunks that have rejected potential mates will spray and release aroma to send their rejected suitors away.
Related: Skunk smell removal recipe
Male skunks can seek out and mate with more than one female in a season. After mating, they will have little contact with the mother or her litter.
Once a female has successfully mated, she will seek out a new den for her litter. She will give birth to 4-8 babies (called kits) but sometimes more or as few as one.
Related: Skunk nest identification and removal
The baby skunks have a gestation period of a little over 60 days. The skunk kits skunk kits are born blind and deaf, appearing pink colored with only a light layer of fur.
It will take three weeks before their eyes open. They will nurse for the first two months but still remain with the mother until they are a year old and ready to mate. The mother will protect the babies with your spray. The father will not take part in raising them.
Types of Skunks
There are four species of skunk that are found in the United States: the striped skunk, the spotted skunk, the hog-nosed skunk, and the hooded skunk.
The striped skunk is the most common type found in the Chicago area.
It is easy to identify by the narrow white stripe that extends from the top of the nose to the forehead. It has a white patch on the back of the neck which tapers into a single large white stripe extending to the shoulders before splitting into two stripes down the top or sides of the back.
If you’ve seen a skunk in Illinois, it was probably a striped skunk. It’s what most people think of when they visualize what a skunk looks like.
The spotted skunk is rare in Illinois and usually seen in the eastern United States. Hooded skunks are found in southwestern deserts and the hog-nosed skunk is also found mostly in the southwestern regions of the U.S.
Each skunk type has stocky legs and large feet with claws that are excellent for digging. They will all be approximately the size of a typical housecat and all will defend themselves with that famously stinky skunk spray.
Damage from Skunks
Skunks can be a nuisance to homeowners with their burrowing, odor secretions, and their potential to spread diseases. The burrowing causes the most problems as skunks may dig under porches, sheds, and decks and may even enter buildings through the foundation.
They also dig up lawns in search of grubs and have been known to dig through unsecured garbage. Their secretions are another potential nuisance as skunks are very defensive and may spray when they feel threatened by people or pets.
Related: What animal is digging in my garden?
If a skunk bites a human or another animal, they could spread diseases such as rabies and Leptospirosis among others.
Professional skunk removal
For professional skunk removal services in the Chicago suburban area, contact Attic Solutions for humane removal of skunks and other pests.
Attic Solutions specializes in locating and sealing burrows, trapping and removing skunks, and fixing damage to your home.
Skunk mural image © Michael Jastremski for openphoto.net