Are Skunks Blind? (Can They See & How Good?)

Skunks are known for their long white stripe and their stinky odor. But what else do you know about skunks? Here, we will take a look at these small North American mammals. 

Are skunks blind? 

When a baby skunk or “kit” is born, they are completely blind and deaf. But adult skunks do not have good vision at all as well. Even though they are not considered to be blind, they are pretty close. Skunks can really only see changes in light.

Baby skunks also only have small patches of soft fur on their bodies. About three weeks after these kits are born, they will finally open their eyes.

This is why skunks will most commonly be seen around dawn or dusk– this is the time when they can see well. Even at this time, skunks can really only see the objects that are right in front of them and no further than about ten feet away. 

So if skunks do not have good vision, how do they get around? Well, skunks rely on their other senses! Skunks have excellent senses of smell and hearing. Skunks have a much better sense of smell than humans do. Skunks use their sense of smell in order to find food. They like to eat insects, such as beetles, crickets, grubs, and grasshoppers, and they will also eat small mammals such as mice, rats, and moles.  

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Since skunks have such a strong sense of smell, does the smell of their own spray bother them? Skunks do not like the smell of their own spray or the spray of other skunks. When a skunk does spray, they rarely get the spray on themselves. If they were to, they can deal with it, but they really do not like it if they get the spray in their face or eyes. 

Skunks do not usually spray other skunks. Instead, they will spray other predators as a warning. This includes wolves, foxes, coyotes, cougars, hawks, and owls. A skunk will also spray a person or a domestic dog if they come across one and get scared. 

Are skunks nocturnal? 

Striped Skunk
Striped Skunk

Skunks are nocturnal, which means that usually come out doing the night (including the dusk and dawn times). But even though they are nocturnal, that does not mean that they never come out during the day. If a hungry skunk smells food during the day, they may venture out to get it.

Mother skinks are also more likely to come out during the day in order to get food for their young. Kits are also more likely to leave their den during the day than grown skunks. 

RELATED: Are Skunks Nocturnal?

Are skunks hibernating in the winter? 

Snow Stinker
Snow Stinker

Skunks do not hibernate in the winter, but they do become less active. This is because their own body temperature drops with the outside temperature. During the cold winter months, skunks will spend most of the time huddled in their dens.

They will leave their dens during mating season, which is in February and March (leading the kits to be born in April and May). Skunks will also leave their dens sometimes for food – during the winter, they can find plenty of grub to snack on.  

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Are skunks aggressive?  

Skunks are not naturally aggressive animals. They will not harm a human unless they feel threatened. A skunk actually uses their spray as a last resort. Skunks will do a handstand on their front paws and aim their tail at their attacker before spraying. The handstand position is good because it allows them to be ready in case they need to spray, but it also allows them to keep their eyes on their attacker at all times.  

One reason that skunks do not spray at first is because they can only store about 4 tablespoons of spray fluid at a time and it takes a couple of days for them to be able to replenish that fluid after spraying it. 

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Are skunks rodents?  

Are skunks rodents?
Are skunks rodents?

While skunks may have a similar look to some rodents, such as squirrels, porcupines, or rabbits, they are not rodents. Instead, these small animals belong to the weasel family. Other members of this family include weasels, badgers, ferrets, otters, and wolverines. 

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