Skunks are solitary mammals; they live in burrows by themselves but may pair up during the winter. The male skunk does not participate in the care of pups, and the female raises her pups in maternity burrows. Pups leave the burrow when they are capable of caring for themselves, and it is strange to see a nest of baby skunks without their mother. However, this is possible in some conditions like:

Flooding: Skunks inhabit the burrows of other animals, and extreme rains may wash them to the surface and separate the mother from her pups.

Fright: Skunks have poor eyesight, and therefore, they get easily frightened. A mother skunk can get agitated and flee when she hears strange noises, and this leaves the pups helpless.

Hunger: The mother skunk needs to feed to keep her strength up, and since the male is not involved, she needs to fend for herself. That means she must leave the pups for a short while to get food until they are mature enough to hunt with her.

Predation: A predator normally avoids skunks unless they do not find a meal elsewhere because they are scared of skunk spray. However, predators still eat skunks, and a mother skunk may fall victim. In this condition, the pups are truly orphans.

What to Do with a Nest of Baby Skunks
When you come across a nest of baby skunks, your first thought most times is to adopt the cuties and raise them as your pets. But do not be too quick to do so. In fact, you should leave them as they are.

Skunks are carriers of many diseases that are zoonotic and can cause harm to you. There are also laws protecting wildlife that prevent you from keeping them as pets. So when you see a nest of skunks, here are a few things you can do:

Observe from a distance. Most times, the mother skunk is just close by and may attack you if you get too close to the nest. At other times, you may scare the mother skunk into staying away from her nest if you loom close to the burrow. So, to be certain that the pups are orphans, you may need to observe from a distance for a few hours or a whole day. If no one comes back for them, then you can take further action.

If there has been a relocation of the mother or death, you should further observe the pups to check if they can survive on their own.

Remove pups from the nest using gloves and a towel. You can wrap them up to provide warmth if they appear cold or leave them in a comfortable carrier. Never attempt to separate the mother skunk from her pups as she may bite or scratch you.

If pups are already moving around and are beneath your porch or deck, you can use one-way exclusion traps to get them away from your house. You shouldn't do this when they are still very little and helpless because the mother will not be able to get to her pups, and they may die from starvation and hunger. This will constitute a bigger problem for you.

Do not try to feed the pups even when you move them from the nest. You should call a professional at the wildlife control and removal center in your state.

Always call a professional before moving a nest of skunk pups or trapping a skunk in your yard. This will save you from legal cases concerning wildlife and afford you professional assistance.

Go back to the Southfield wildlife removal home page.