What should I do if I find an abandoned baby skunk?

What are skunks?
Skunks are mammals found in North and South America. They are related to weasels and have black, white and brown stripes on their bodies. They can also be cream and ginger colored.

How do Skunks defend themselves?
Their striking patterns and thick fur are a warning for predators to leave them alone. And for a good reason too. When skunks feel attacked or threatened, it will spray a fouls smelling liquid at its attacker from its anal gland. This is enough to scare most predators away. However this is usually a last resort and skunks will growl, hiss and spit to fend itself and its young first. What should I do if I find a baby skunk wandering around? A baby skunk wandering around is not necessarily orphaned or abandoned. Sometimes a baby skunk can lose its mother while exploring and scurrying around. So the first step is to determine if it is orphaned or not. Also, the skunk you find walking by itself will be at least a month old. This is because baby skunks do not open their eyes until at least three weeks.

1. Decide whether it needs your help:
If the skunk has its eyes fully open, is walking by itself, is digging up food and does not look unhealthy, then it is safe to say it can take care of itself. Also when you go near it and try to pick it up, if it hisses and manages to evade your grasp, then it is healthy and does not need your assistance.

2. Find out whether it is just lost or abandoned:
If you see the carcass of the mother or know that the mother has been killed, then it is an orphan. Also wait around for a couple of hours. The mother may come looking for her young and take it away. If however, the mother does not appear after a few hours, then pick it up carefully and take it home.

3. Take care of it until you can give it to a wildlife professional.
Baby skunks cannot regulate their temperature and need to be kept warm. Place it in a cardboard box lined with a soft towel. Make sure the room is warm. Hydrate the animal. Feed it water from a small bottle, or place it in a dish and give it to the baby.

4. Hand the baby over to a wildlife rehabilitator;
You cannot take care of baby skunks as they are wild animals and need a specialized diet. It is best to hand it to a certified professional in your area.

Go back to the Lake Charles wildlife removal home page.