SB Wildlife Care Network's Patient of the Week: Striped Skunk
Patient #412 of 2022: Striped skunk
Status: Still in care
New arrivals! The first baby striped skunk litter of the year has arrived at Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network Patient #412 and his five siblings were found orphaned behind a Santa Maria building. With no sign of the mom in sight, this group was brought to SBWCN where they could receive the critical care they need. All of the infant skunks in the litter were moderately dehydrated upon arrival, but overall in good health. The team prepped a cozy den for the group to sleep in, and are providing fluids, food, and supportive care. These skunks will remain in care until they are old enough to be released on their own.
Although this litter was orphaned, it is not uncommon for young skunks to explore during the daytime while their mother is asleep. Unless they look injured or sick, they usually do not need to be rescued. The public is always encouraged to call the SBWCN Helpline before interfering: (805) 681-1080. Skunks also have the potential to spread rabies, and should only ever be handled by a vaccinated professional.
Striped skunk facts:
Striped skunks live throughout North America, southern Canada, and northern Mexico.
They are opportunistic feeders with an insectivorous diet during the spring and summer seasons, and a carnivorous diet during colder months. They benefit backyards by eating the insects and rodents that typically consume garden bounty.
Their sulfuric spray ranges up to 10 feet, and its odor can be detected up to 1.5 miles. This defense mechanism typically occurs after a warning display, which involves the skunk stomping its feet and arching its back while raising its tail.
Skunks are typically solitary animals aside from the winter months when they share communal dens.
To keep warm for winter, skunks consume large amounts of food to develop an insulating layer of fat.
Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1988. For over 30 years, SBWCN has served to rescue, rehabilitate, and return to the wild sick, injured, orphaned, and oil-impaired wildlife in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties and to educate the public about living in harmony with wildlife. The SBWCN Helpline is available everyday from 9 AM–5 PM for animal emergencies and wildlife advice: (805) 681-1080. Donations in support of this work can be made at www.sbwcn.org/donate.