What to do with an orphaned skunk

It is not unusual to find a baby skunk wandering alone by itself. Chances are that the mother has been caught, relocated or killed. If not, she will try to reunite with her baby. However, they probably will not find each other. 

If you happen upon one of these baby skunks, you should first observe it from a distance. Try to see if its eyes are well opened and it appears healthy. Is it foraging for food on its own and digging holes? If so, then it may not need your help at all. This young skunk may be capable of caring for itself in the wild. 

Now, if the skunk is younger or there are a few babies wandering without their mother, you should try a different approach. Put a laundry basket with lattice sides over them where they are spotted. Do not put a heavy object on top of it. This will be enough to keep them contained. 

Skunks are nurturing mothers and if they can get back to their young, they will. Most often, they just flip the basket over and take their young. If you have waited overnight and there is no sign of the mother, she is likely not coming back. 

What To Do Next

These animals must be approached with caution, slowly. Skunks are near sighted so sudden movements will frighten them. Speak gently and wear gloves. You�ll want to put them in a container or crate lined with a soft material. 

Babies and young skunks also need a heat source. You may use a heating pad on a low setting or a warm water bottle. Put the heat source in the container with the baby skunk(s). You�ll want to move the animal to a dark, quiet place while waiting for help to arrive. 

Keep the animal away from children and pets. Call a local wildlife rehabber or wildlife management for help. 

What Not To Do

Do not give the animal any food or water. This contradicts most human instincts, but it is the right thing to do. Many young skunks have died because a well-meaning person gave it the wrong type of food. If the animal is panicked, even the right type of food can cause digestive issues that can become life-threatening. 

Water can also cause issues, like hypothermia, if the baby falls into the water bowl. Attempting to force feed water through a dropper can result in water in the animal�s lungs. This can cause pneumonia and a host of additional issues. It is best to wait for someone experienced in handling young skunks.

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