When Love Stinks! Ohio Skunk Rut
Mid-February through March is skunk mating season here in Ohio. The actual dates vary depending upon weather and the age of the female skunk. Females that do not want to breed, will spray the male to get him to leave. This explains why there are times during this time of year that skunk scent hangs in the air! Male skunks will travel 3-5 miles per evening looking for love. This explains the increase in road killed skunks at this time of year.
Females have a gestation period of 60-75 days and will normally have a litter of kittens ranging from 1-15 although the average is 4-7. The kittens are born eyes closed and hairless and will be nursed in the den for about 6 weeks before venturing out with their mother.
Males travel from den to den after dark looking for willing females and in doing so the chances of an encounter with one of your pets rises. Skunks can and will spray what they perceive as a threat at out to 15 feet. It is probably a good idea to keep your pets on a leash this time of year.
If your pet does get sprayed with the nasty musk, ODNR offers this recipe to try and wash it off:
1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon liquid soap
Because this is an unstable mixture you need to use it up or throw it out.
Luckily skunks are for the most part nocturnal and only produce 1 litter of offspring per year. Despite the awful odor they are often eaten by coyotes, foxes, and bobcats; and only have an average life expectancy of 2-3 years.
Be careful and stay alert as the skunk rut is about to kick into high gear!