February is strongly associated with love and romance due to Valentine’s Day. However, human beings are not the only creatures becoming amorous during this time of year. Mating season for skunks begins in February and extends into March or even April. During this time, you may notice increased signs of skunk activity around your home. If so, expert humane wildlife services in Pickering are effective at removing skunk families and preventing them from coming back without harming the mother and babies.
Mating Habits of Skunks
Skunks do not hibernate, but they tend to be less active during the winter, preferring to hole up with two or three other adults for protection from the cold weather. In February, when mating season begins, they will begin to emerge from their winter dens and start looking for mates.
Males skunks may mate with several females before the season is over. They can travel great distances to find partners. They have been known to travel up to eight kilometres in search of a mate. Unfortunately for the male skunks, the females are not always interested in their advances. A female that is disinclined to mate may spray the male skunks to deter them. Males may also spray each other during the mating season due to disagreements over the females.
The gestation period of a skunk is about two months, meaning that the babies are typically born in late May or early June. The babies are quite vulnerable when they are born. Blind, deaf, and hairless, they would make easy prey for predators. Therefore, the mothers dig dens in areas not easily accessible, such as in a thick, secluded bush or under a rock. Mother skunks may also make dens in areas around homes, such as under decks, porches, sheds, woodpiles, etc. Male skunks do not participate in raising the babies.
Signs of Skunk Activity
Skunks are nocturnal animals, so it is rare to spot them during the day. You usually smell them rather than see them, and with skunks spraying each other during their domestic squabbles, you may notice their odour more often during the months of February and March than at any other time of the year.
While travelling to search for a mate, male skunks will often venture onto highways. Drivers may not see them in time to stop, so it is common to see more skunk carcasses on the road during this time of year due to unfortunate collisions with motor vehicles.
There may be other signs of skunks around your home. These animals are omnivorous, and you may notice damage near the bottom of your corn stalks and other garden plants where they have been grazing. Skunks also dig for insects and larva to eat, so small, shallow holes may appear in your lawn. If the skunk smells in or around your home are faint but persistent, that may be a sign that a family of skunks has taken up residence.
Benefits of Humane Wildlife Prevention
Humane methods of extraction and prevention are better for both you and the skunks. If the mother is trapped or killed, the babies will likely remain hidden in their den, which is not a good outcome for them or for you. Our wildlife technicians remove them by hand, which is the only humane method of extraction. The babies are then placed in a heated reunion box, which is designed for the express purpose of moving them from the den to an entry point where their mother can find them.
The humane method of wildlife prevention is also better for you. It involves cleaning and decontamination of the areas skunks have made use of to avoid any health risks. Our technicians then deodorize the area, seal any entry points, and bury the screen underground to deter digging and discourage any future incursions by other skunks.
Skunks are gentle, non-aggressive creatures that usually only spray when they feel they have to.