Smelly Young Ones

My kids and I are now obsessed. We have officially fallen in love. With what you ask? A family of five baby striped skunks!

Luckily, since skunks are confirmed chicken predators, they are not located in my backyard. Here's the scoop...

On Monday, my sister noticed baby skunks emerging from underneath her backyard shed. They have taken over her yard and are the cutest things ever! You can find them everywhere, from under the deck to the spare mulch pile. In fact, her dog, Tucker, has been relegated to the front yard so he doesn't disturb the babies. They are as small as baby kittens and are still getting their feet under them. They love to play and try to run. But, they're still not that coordinated so they occasionally take a tumble. On Monday, they didn't seem to have great eyesight. By Tuesday, we noticed they can definitely see. In fact the baby pictured below could definitely see me. He or she was busy doing a "get away from me" dance.
Normal skunk litters consist of 2 to 10 babies and are born pink-skinned and blind. By their second week, babies are furred and by their third week, their eyes have opened. They are usually weaned and will be out with their mom on nightly hunting forays by their sixth week. So we're thinking these babies are about six weeks old. Although we have never seen the mom, our guess is that she's under the shed and she still lets them suckle since sometimes we can hear nursing sounds. 

For now, everyone in my family is having fun hanging out in my sister's yard and watching the babies. But the bad news is that the babies normally stay with their mom until the next spring. So, I'm sure things won't be so much fun and may get a little smelly when the babies learn to spray. But until then, it's certainly a privilege to get to observe these smelly little ones!

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