I found a baby skunk! What now?

You look out your window and see a litter of skunk kits running around with no parent to be seen. What’s next?

Kits without their mother aren’t necessarily orphaned or injured. However, unlike some animals, skunks are typically attentive parents who don’t leave their babies unattended for very long. If you wait about three hours and still see no sign of mom, approach the babies and see if she comes running. If she does, slowly step away— she’s unlikely to spray you if you leave her alone. If there’s still no sign of her, it’s time to call a permitted skunk rehabilitator. If you’re in Tennessee, I’m happy to help!

You may be asked to provide short-term stabilizing care or to put the skunks in a box or carrier. Make sure to wear gloves— a pair of gardening gloves is a good option— when you do this. Do not give the animal anything to eat or drink, or you could risk making it extremely sick.

Please do not, under any circumstances, attempt to raise a wild skunk yourself. Skunks are among the most common carriers of rabies in the United States, and may not initially show symptoms. Skunks raised improperly are also likely to be irreversibly tame or to suffer serious bone defects caused by improper nutrition. But, if you find you have a passion for wildlife, consider volunteering with your local wildlife rehabilitation facility. More help is always needed!

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