If you see a baby out during the daytime, wait to see if the baby either finds his den again or the mother returns. Once skunk babies get to about 6-7 weeks old, they start exploring outside the den, but their mother is generally not far away. An orphaned baby will generally appear frantic, more so as he/she gets hungrier. If you think the mother won't be returning, you can either place an inverted laundry basket over the baby or babies to help you keep track of them or try to catch them and place them in a box or pet carrier.
The babies' eyes don't open until 3-4 weeks of age. Their teeth start coming in after that, although they can't do any damage with their bites until their jaws get strong enough, about 7-8 weeks old. Until they are juveniles at between 10-12 weeks of age, about the size of a small cantaloupe, they usually can't spray on purpose and aren't very good with their aim. Usually, they are quite harmless unless they have a disease. (Please see the IMPORTANT NOTE about rabies at the end of this article.) Before attempting to capture the skunks, we would recommend wearing gloves and/or calling for assistance if you have any concerns about your situation.
If you have picked up a baby skunk who has genuinely lost his/her mother, first you need to place him in a warm, secure, quiet place away from children and pets. Young skunks, like most mammals, are unable to regulate their body temperature so we need to help them stay warm by providing a source of heat. Any of the following options will work:
Skunk mothers move their den, which is normally an excavated area or hollow in the ground sometimes under slabs, porches, sheds, or decks, frequently in order to keep the scent from attracting predators. When the babies are under 5-6 weeks old, she will carry them from one den to another. If the mother is killed, injured, or senses danger during the moving process, the babies will be in jeopardy.
If you have found an animal, please click Contact Us.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Skunks are a rabies vector species, and rabies can be passed from mother to baby at birth. Anyone handling a skunk should exercise extreme caution. Please contact All Things Wild Rehabilitation if you have any concerns about the health of an animal.
Do not attempt to feed the baby and never give cow's milk to a wild animal. Just keep it warm and contact us. Skunks need to be cared for by trained rehabilitators, and it is illegal to have or keep wildlife without the appropriate government permits. Click HERE for our contact information.