Chase one of our Animal Ambassadors is a captive bred striped skunk that was born on May 9th, 2016. WINC staff just celebrated his 1st birthday yesterday! Happy Birthday, Chase!
Wild striped skunks have a risk of carrying rabies and therefore cannot be rehabilitated in Wisconsin. Chase has been raised and cared for by our staff and he was descented at a young age, therefore he will live permanently at WINC. As a frequently misunderstood species, he is a very important addition to our education team.
The striped skunk is a nocturnal mammal that can be found throughout Wisconsin and North America. The striped skunk is known for their black fur with a wide, white stripe that starts at their head, divides in half and stretches to their back end. Their tail is long, bushy, black and white. Their front feet are each equipped with long, curved claws that help them with their natural digging instincts. They have poor eye sight but their nose is powerful enough to smell below the surface of the ground.
Skunks eat plant and animal foods during fall and winter and insects are their preferred food which make up the bulk of their diet in spring and summer. Skunks dig for grubs that would often otherwise kill crops and lawns. Skunks also eat mice, young rabbits, ground squirrels, voles, birds and bird eggs. Skunks are definitely a big help when it comes to pest control.
Skunks are not true hibernators during the winter months but they prefer to keep warm inside den sites. Their breeding season begins in February and a single litter of 4 to 10 kits are born from May to June.
When a skunk feels threatened, their methods of defense may include arching their backs, raising their tails and stomping the ground with their front feet. If a skunk’s warning is ignored, it turns around with its tail raised and their backside aimed at the threat for a good position to discharge its foul smelling spray. A great piece of advice if you encounter a skunk; back away slowly and as quietly as possible, try not to scream. Skunks spray when they feel threatened and loud noises tend to set them off due to their poor eyesight.