Orphan Alert: Be very careful not to create orphan skunks by accident. Mother skunks often give birth in the spring in and around our dwellings. When homeowners hire pest control companies to remove the mother, the babies will be left behind. Do not trap and relocate skunks. Even though this might seem like an easy solution to your skunk “problem,” it is illegal and not a permanent deterrent to others moving in. One year, Native Animal Rescue received 39 skunks during April, May and June. Approximately 90% of those “rescued” skunks were the result of a mother skunk being trapped and relocated, thus leaving the babies behind to fend for themselves.The best solution is to let the family stay until the babies are old enough to take off on their own. They won’t stay forever and will be out and about by the end of summer. Once you are sure the skunks have moved out, cover up their entry and exit. Remember, skunks dig for food, so make sure that when you block their entry, the barrier continues approximately 6 inches below the soil.
What to do if you find…
1. Always wear gloves when handling skunks.
2. You are not likely to get sprayed so long as the situation is kept calm.
3. First, establish that the baby skunk needs to be rescued. If the baby looks healthy, it is best to wait and watch until evening before taking action. If there is no sign of the mother, or if the baby is injured or being stalked by a predator, or is in danger of wandering into a road, don’t wait, it’s time to bring the baby to Native Animal Rescue.
4. Warm a soft cloth or an old t-shirt in the dryer and place it in the bottom of a box with air holes. Keep the box warm by placing it on a warm towel or on a heating pad set on low.
5. While wearing gloves, carefully lift the baby and place it in the box.
6. Close the box and bring it to Native Animal Rescue following the directions below.
7. If you are uncomfortable handling the baby, call Native Animal Rescue at 831-462-0726.
Injured Adult Skunks
1. Do not handle, feed, or transport the skunk.
2. Contact Native Animal Rescue at 831-462-0726.
3. If you are unable to contact Native Animal Rescue, call Santa Cruz County Animal Services at 831-454-7200. After hours call 831-471-1182.