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Baby Skunk

Posted on Jun 11, 2017

As we enter mid-June we find ourselves in one of the quieter times of the avian season as nearly all of our northbound migrants have found their way to their nesting grounds. A few birds may still be trickling through, but most of what we see now is breeding in our region. This seasonal bird post is being hijacked to deliver another message with a Sunday skunk!

Isn’t it adorable? I saw this baby skunk earlier this week, and it reminded me to put out a brief message about the many miniature mammals we see emerging as we head into summer. While they are so very cute, we want to treat these little ones with the same respect that we do their parents. I often end up reading a lot of stories about an “abandoned” animal – such as a fawn sleeping in the grass – that is actually still being monitored by mom, or has been intentionally left there by the adult for its own safety. Running up to them with a cell phone to take a photo, petting them, or “rescuing” them is very dangerous for everyone involved. Even young ones can be carriers of diseases such as rabies without showing symptoms. If you are reading this you very likely love wildlife, but it is vital that you leave these kids be, or you may be the reason they perish.

The skunk above was with a sibling (on the right) while walking along a roadway in a busy public park. They played and foraged while I encouraged onlookers to keep their distance and move on soon. This skunk was wary and defensive, raising its tiny tail and stomping the ground, while the other one never even looked up. Compare its size to the blades of grass – it could fit in the palm of your hand, but that is not where you want it to be. This is why we have long lenses and photographs to remember such encounters…and not an epic stench, a bite mark, and a series of shots.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator