What To Do If You Found Sick or Injured Baby Skunk
About Baby Skunks
Caution: Rabies vector species. Always wear gloves when handling.
Orphan Alert: Be very careful not to create orphan skunks by accident. Mother skunks often give birth in the spring in and around our dwellings. When homeowners hire pest control companies to remove the mother, the babies will be left behind. The best solution is to let the family stay until the babies are old enough to take off on their own. Once you are sure the skunks have moved out, seal up their entry and exit. Remember, skunks dig for food, so make sure that when you block their entry, the barrier continues approximately 6 inches below the soil. Unnecessarily removing an animal from its environment – particularly a baby – can cause more harm than simply leaving it be. It is important to recognize signs of distress.
There are a few cases where you might need to intervene:
- The baby skunk is crying continuously (mewing sound like a kitten).
- The baby skunks eyes are closed and it is out of the den.
- The baby skunk is cold to the touch.
- The baby skunk is injured or has been attacked.
- The mother has been removed, relocated or is dead.
- There are flies around the baby skunk.
What to do if you find a baby skunk…
- Always wear gloves when handling skunks.
- You are not likely to get sprayed so long as the situation is kept calm.
- If the baby looks healthy, it is best to wait and watch until the evening before taking action. If there is no sign of the mother, or if the baby is injured or being stalked by a predator, or is in danger of wandering into a road, don’t wait.
What to Do
Wear gloves. When dealing with non-carnivorous mammals, a thick pair of work gloves, a thick jacket, and other personal protection can prevent injury. All mammals can carry the rabies virus. Do not use bare hands when helping mammals. Please be careful not to get bitten, licked, or scratched by the animal as well.
Prepare a container
Have a sturdy box or animal carrier ready to contain the animal. Garbage cans, recycling bins, and plastic containers will work in a pinch, depending on the size of the animal.
Capturing the animal
Place a thick towel over the animal and quickly gather it inside the towel. Place the animal immediately in an appropriately-sized box with a secure lid. Make sure the box has air holes in the lid. If you are trying to capture a porcupine, do NOT use a towel. Use a board or other sturdy object to slowly herd the porcupine into the container.
If you can’t transport it immediately
- Keep the animal in a warm, dark, and quiet place.
- Do not give it food or water. Feeding an animal an incorrect diet can result in injury or death. Also, a captured animal will get food and water stuck in its fur/feathers potentially leading to discomfort and hypothermia.
- If the animal is cold, keep it warm by putting one end of the container on a towel over a heating pad set on low. If you don’t have a heating pad, you can use microwaveable heat bags or a bottle filled with hot water placed inside the box.
- Do not handle it. Leave the animal alone. Remember human noise, touch and eye contact are very stressful to wild animals.
- Keep children and pets away from it.
For further assistance on where and how to transport, please refer to the "Who to Call for Help" section on this page.
During transport, keep the animal in the box or crate, keep the car quiet (radio off).