Striped Skunk with Paws Up on Log during autumn

Skunk Mating Season: 10 Things You Need To Know

Skunks are pretty popular animals, but you may not know that they go through a mating season each year. Finding a mate and raising their young is an important part of the skunk’s life cycle.

Skunks usually mate from February through April, and males will travel long distances to find a suitable mate during this time. Once mating happens, female skunks can delay implantation of their pregnancy until the spring or summer, which ensures that they give birth to their young in more favorable months. 

During the mating season, skunks can become more aggressive as they compete for mates and try to protect their territories from intruding males. This behavior can result in fights between males or even spraying to ward off competitors.

Understanding when skunk mating season can help people avoid confrontations with these animals capable of releasing a strong hard to remove odor. Here are ten interesting facts about skunk breeding and mating season:

skunk mating season infographic
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Key Pest Points

• Skunks typically breed from February to April, and during this period, the males will travel 1-5 miles in search of a good mate.

• Female skunks have the ability to postpone implantation until the spring or summer, ensuring that their babies are born during more hospitable seasons.

• Skunk babies spend 6 to 8 weeks in their den before venturing out with their moms to begin learning how to survive on their own. They are also born blind and deaf.

1. Skunk Mating Season Happens Between February and March

In the United States, skunks will mate between February and April. This is when female skunks are most likely to be in heat, and males are competing for mates.

Around February is when male skunks will start looking for potential mates. During this period, males travel between 1 – 5 miles in search of females and often mark their territories with scent glands near their tails.

2. Males Compete for Potential Mates

Male skunks will compete with one another for potential mates. This competition often results in fighting between males or even spraying to ward off competing males.

Because of this, it is essential to remember that during the skunk mating season, they may become more aggressive than usual. Additionally, they may be more active as they search for mates, and this can increase the likelihood of confrontations with people.

3. Male Skunks Are Polygamous

Male skunks are polygamous animals, meaning that a male can mate with multiple females during the mating season. However, female skunks will only mate with one male. Once the males have mated with a female, they will leave and not participate in raising their young.

The females protect their babies and will not hesitate to spray if they feel threatened. So it is crucial to be more careful around skunks during this time.

4. Mating Season Causes Increased Activity

During the skunk mating season, male skunks will become much more active as they search for potential mates. This increased activity can lead to more sightings of these animals near homes and businesses.

Additionally, this increased activity can make it easier for people to come into contact with these animals accidentally, so that you may smell more skunk odors during this time.

Striped skunk mother with baby under a tree

5. Female Skunks Have Delayed Implantation

Female skunks have an unusual reproductive strategy known as “delayed implantation” that can last up to 19 days. This means the embryo will not develop or grow until the conditions outside are the best for it to survive.

This allows female skunks to time the birth of their young so that they are born in a period when food is plentiful, and the weather is warm.

6. Skunks Give Birth in Early Summer

Mating season occurs between February and April, but skunks do not give birth until early summer, May through June. This is because of the delayed implantation process, which ensures that the offspring are born in an environment that is more suitable for survival.

Having enough food and warm weather helps skunks to survive and thrive in their environment. It also reduces their chances of becoming preyed upon.

7. Litters Contain 4-6 Skunks

When the female skunk gives birth, she will have anywhere from 4 to 6 babies. These young skunks are called “kits.” They are born blind, deaf, and helpless.

A Female skunk’s gestational period is around 59 – 77 days, after which it will give birth to a litter of 4 -6 babies from May to June. Baby skunks are also born blind and deaf and often stay in their den for 6-8 weeks before they can venture out with their mothers and start learning how to fend for themselves.

8. Skunks Live Solitary Lives Until Masting Season

Skunks are usually solitary animals, meaning they often live alone. Each skunk will only come together with another skunk during mating season and then quickly part ways again until the next mating season rolls around.

However, it is not unusual to find skunks cohabitating during the winter when food is scarce, as they huddle together for warmth and protection. So if you spot a group of skunks during the winter months, they could be all related or just surviving the cold season in close quarters.

9. Skunks Reach Sexual Maturity at 10 Months

Skunks reach sexual maturity at around ten months of age. They will be ready to reproduce at this point, and the process will start again. These animals can live up to 1-3 years in the wild and 15 years in captivity.

Given the right conditions, skunks can be relatively long-lived animals and produce several litters of babies over their lifetime. This way, they help maintain a healthy population of these nocturnal creatures.

Striped skunk on a hollow tree with a baby kit in its mouth.

10. Mating Season Varies Across Regions

The length and timing of skunk mating season can vary across different parts of the country. So while skunk mating season may start early in some areas, it may not begin until late spring or summer in others.

By understanding these facts about skunk mating season, people can better prepare themselves for potential encounters with skunks and avoid any potential confrontations. 

So, if you come across a skunk, it is best to stay calm and avoid sudden movements. If the skunk does spray, keep your distance until the smell dissipates.

How To Prevent Skunks From Entering Your Property

During mating season, skunks are more likely to venture onto human properties in search of food and a mate. It is crucial to take a few simple steps to prevent skunks from entering your property.

Remove Potential Food Sources

Skunks are attracted to food sources, so keeping your property clean and free of garbage or pet food is essential. You can also trim low-hanging branches from trees or shrubs that may provide a potential food source.

Seal Up Any Potential Entry Points

Make sure to seal any potential entry points into your homes, such as holes in siding or around windows and doors. These animals can squeeze into surprisingly small spaces, so check for potential openings.

Install Motion Sensors

Motion sensor lights can scare off any skunks that might come onto your property. Install these sensors in areas where you think skunks might be trying to enter your home or garden. These areas can include places like under porches or decks, gardens, and any other potential hiding spots.

Maintain Your Property

Maintaining your property clean and free of any potential food sources is essential in preventing skunks from entering your home. You can also use natural repellents to scare off skunks that may come too close.

Identify Skunk Tranks

By identifying skunk tracks, you can determine where the animals are spending their time and take steps to prevent them from entering your property or coming too close. It is important to remember that skunks are wild animals and should be treated with care.

Call a Professional Wildlife Control Company

If the problem continues, consider calling a professional wildlife control company to safely and humanely trap skunks or prevent them from entering your home.

Skunks are fascinating animals and play an essential role in our ecosystem. By understanding facts about when is mating season for skunks, you can better prepare yourself for potential encounters with these animals and take steps to prevent them from entering your property. These simple measures can help ensure that you and the skunks remain safe and healthy.


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