Adorable New Kits are "Stinkin' Cute"

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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo has welcomed a litter of seven baby Skunks!  Born May 2 to first time mom, ‘Mia’ (now affectionately known as ‘Momma Mia’), the Skunk kits have just opened their eyes and will soon emerge from the den. Mia and kits, five boys and two girls, have been relocated to a temporary enclosure, along the Florida boardwalk, until the kits are mobile. 

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4_florida boardwalk skunk kit 3 may 29 2015Photo Credits: Dave Parkinson/Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo

Born hairless, weighing only 40-50 grams each (about the weight of a slice of bread), the now furry siblings were recently weighed, and are currently at 180-208 grams each. Members of the Zoo’s animal care team feed Mia breakfast, while her kits are checked and weighed one at a time, then placed quickly back into the den.

Skunks are omnivorous, eating both plant and animal material and changing their diets as the seasons change. They eat insects and larvae, earthworms, grubs, small rodents, lizards, salamanders, frogs, snakes, birds, moles and eggs. They also commonly eat berries, roots, leaves, grasses, fungi and nuts. In settled areas, Skunks also peruse garbage left by humans. Pet owners may experience a Skunk finding its way into a garage or storage area where pet food is kept.

Skunks are crepuscular and solitary when not breeding, though in colder parts of their range, they may gather in communal dens for warmth. During the day, they shelter in burrows, which they can dig with their powerful front claws. Males and females occupy overlapping home ranges through the greater part of the year. Skunks are not true hibernators in the winter, but do den-up for extended periods of time.

Skunks mate in early spring and polygamous. The female will excavate and prepare a den to house her litter. Skunks are placental, with a gestation period of about 66 days, and they generally give birth to four to seven kits.  The kits are weaned after about two months, but they will stay with their mother for about one year, until they reach mating age.

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There's Something Very Unique About This Skunk Kit!


The union of two young Skunks last November at Germany's Zoo Heidelberg has produced five offspring! The five lively "Stinktierkinder" (German for baby Skunks!) were born on April  28. Mother "Chanel" has kept her offspring well hidden and lovingly cared for in the birth den. The pups are just now beginning to explore their enclosure. "Chanel" has a lot to be proud of with her growing litter, but perhaps especially notable is that one of the five kits was born with white fur and red eyes, an albino! Albinism occurs in humans and in almost all animal species. Albino people and animals suffer from sensitivity to UV light and blurred vision. In the wild, the albino girl would have no chance of survival. Perhaps the biggest problem for wild animals, is they are more easily recognized as prey.




One of the snow white girl's siblings chases a toy around the exhibit...


Coming Soon: Skunk Kits at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

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Here's a peek behind the scenes at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park: two male Striped Skunk kits were born this summer! The little ones will stay in quarantine for about a month before going out on exhibit, just to make sure they stay healthy during their early development.  

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Photo credits: Northwest Trek Wildlife Park



Found commonly throughout North America, Striped Skunks are born hairless and with closed eyes. They open their eyes at around 22 days old, and nurse for about eight weeks. Young Skunks can spray at just eight days old. The awful-smelling secretion comes from glands under the tail, which are often removed in captivity to de-scent the animal. These omnivores are crepuscular (mostly active at dawn and dusk), and forage for a wide range of food: from plants to insects, eggs, small reptiles, and rodents. Their main predators are Great Horned Owls, which, unsurprisingly, have a very poor sense of smell.



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Skunk Kits Surprise Five Sisters Zoo

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Caretakers at Five Sisters Zoo in Scotland weren't expecting any baby Skunks— but one turned up in their Skunk exhibit on June 4. Later that day they found an even bigger surprise: the second kit to appear was an albino. They believe that the parents are Stella, one of two regular black and white females, and the father is Strachan, an albino. The albino kit has been examined and identified as a female; the other kit has been a bit more elusive and hasn't been checked out yet. The kits are pictured here at three weeks old.

Life has not been so easy for Strachan. As an albino, his eyes are weak and he has a poor immune system, leaving him vulnerable to common diseases. With his pale coloring, he sunburns easily. The albino kit will encounter the same difficulties. It's likely that the albino Skunks would not have survived in the wild. The normal black and white markings help to warn predators that a foul-smelling fluid may be squirted at them should they get too near.

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Photo credits: Five Sisters Zoo

What's Black and White and Cute All Over?


At Zoo Boise, Striped Skunks Figaro and Cleo are stars of the zoo's special animal presentations. On April 30th, the pair also became the parents of six little kits. The four males and two females just recently started to open their eyes. Once mature and independent, they will move to other zoos. In the meantime, the kits may join their parents in animal presentations at the zoo, depending on their mother and on their healthy development. 




Photo credits: Zoo Boise

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Baby Skunk Is Stinkin' Cute

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A four-month old baby Skunk is the newest star of the live animal show at the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.  Thurston makes his debut this weekend in the zoo’s twice-daily show entitled “Captain Adventure vs. Dr. Do-Nothing: The Quest to Get Outside!”

Thurston has had his scent glands removed to protect the audience from any unexpected skunky outbursts.


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Striped Skunks live throughout North America, where they inhabit forests, grasslands, and urban areas.  They feed on insects, small animals, fruits, grains, and nuts, with their diet varying considerably with the seasons.  When threatened by another animal, Skunks release a very unpleasant odor from their highly- developed anal scent glands.

The zoo’s live animal show features a superheroine, a superdog, a dastardly villain, 13-16 animals and five zoo staff to deliver a message about the importance of getting out into nature. 

Photo Credits:  Point Defiance Zoo & Aquraium

Baby Skunks for Boston's Museum of Science!


Boston's Museum of Science is excited to introduce its two new baby Striped Skunks! These babies arrived at the Museum on November 10. They were captive born on September 24. When they get a bit bigger they will begin their careers as education animals here at the museum. Best known for their powerful scent used as a defense mechanism, Striped Skunks are one of four species of North American Skunks and are native to New England. Most people can easily recognize the characteristic white striped marking which is jokingly referred to as "nature's stop sign".


Why is the Skunk black and white? It is typically most active at night and needs protection against its nocturnal predators. Since most nocturnal animals have more light sensing cells than color sensing cells in their eyes, a bright color would not stand out, but the distinct white stripe is easily visible. The stripe on skunks is unique to each individual. Can you notice the difference in these two skunks? Despite the warning signs, skunks do have a main predator and that is the Great Horned Owl. Owls swoop in above Skunks so it is hard for the Skunk to see them coming. Like most birds, the Great Horned Owl has a very poor sense of smell therefore it doesn't mind its smelly meal.

A Busy Year for Babies at Chessington Zoo

The UK's Chessington Zoo reports a record year for baby births. Marc Boardman, Zoo Manager, explained: “2009 has been our biggest baby boom EVER at Chessington World of Adventures, with everything from gorillas, spider monkeys and lemurs to frogs, seahorses and condors getting in on the action. Most of the animals in Chessington Zoo are endangered or threatened species and the most important part of the work of the zoo is its contribution to conservation.” 

Mbulu, baby Western Lowland Gorilla

Ayu the Binturong, the first parent-reared Bearcat born in the UK for decades

One of Chessington's many recent Skunk babies

More feathered and furry fun below the fold...

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