The most common skunk in Texas is the Striped Skunk. While being known for their pungent scent, the striped skunk is also described as a medium-sized nocturnal mammal with a white stripe on either side of their back extending from the head to the bush of the tail. These animals leave their dens to look for food in the evening and return early morning to safety. Striped skunks are social animals, meaning several can live in the same winter den together.

The normal breeding period for a skunk is between February and March with offspring born in early May. The average litter is around five offspring and a skunk usually only has one litter a year but on rare occasion, they may have two litters. The small and helpless blind baby skunks must be hidden away in a safe area until they are strong enough and can see to follow their mothers.

The skunk’s normal den in an urban area can include under decks, patios, sheds, pier and beam foundations, or even under concrete foundations. While the bulk of this omnivore’s diet comes from insects, the striped skunk also eats reptiles, small mammals, birds and vegetation. Normal predators, like humans, avoid skunks because of the musky odor. Their lifespan in the wild is around two years. Since their odor of sulfuric acid concoction cannot be immediately refilled, striped skunks will purr or growl and rise on their hind feet, lurch forward and stamp their front feet while clicking their teeth to scare away predators and intruders. These mammals, while strange, are not aggressive. Since they are near-sighted, skunks may wander up to a child unknowing that it is a person.

While trapping may be the first reaction to seeing a skunk in the yard, neighboring skunks will replace any removed from the location. If you live in a location populated by skunks, the best deterrent is prevention. Make sure your home and yard is “animal-proofed” by closing off any possibly den sites. Also, trapping adult skunks, especially during birthing season, can result in orphaned skunks which can starve without the mother.

Reference sources: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and 911 Wildlife

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