What is a skunk’s mating habits, when do they have babies, how do they raise their young?
The different species of skunks (hog-nosed, spotted, stink badgers, and more) have pretty much the same mating habits. They are known to be solitary animals when not breeding, but in much colder areas these animals tend to live together in dens. The males are quite polygamous and might mate with several females during the mating season. However, there is a difference as to when the mating occurs amongst the different species. These differences mean that the species relatively vary as to when and how they raise their young ones.
The spotted skunks are known to breed from the months of September to October and do experience a delayed implantation. On the other hand, the striped skunks’ mating period is between the months of February through March. In the month of April, the females will give birth to young ones, typically 4-5 depending on variable factors that affect fertility and related issues.
In almost all the cases, the females will endeavor to give birth in underground dens away from the dangers of predators. At the age of 60 days, the young ones will be taught how to find food and at 3 months they are mature enough to live independently. However, some tend to live with their mother for up to 1 year. Note that the skunk kids are born blind and deaf and are always covered in a thin film of fur. In less than 3 weeks their eyes will open and they will start walking around in the den. Adult male skunks do not participate in raising young ones – it is entirely a mother skunk’s role.
The mothers are overly protective of the young ones and can actually spray any object or animal that appears dangerous at the slightest provocation. The anal spray is quite offensive and can deter any enemy at any time. The two glands that contain the spray are strategically located in the anal area and contain a liquid that is a mixture of Sulphur and chemicals such as thiols that are known to be quite nauseating. Overall, the skunks raise their young ones in such a way that they teach them everything that concerns feeding. In other words, in 3 months’ time they will know how to eat as well as what to eat and how to find food during the day or night.
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