(Mephitis mephitis). Patient Number 22-1961.
Date of admission: December 30, 2022.
Reason for admission: Neck injury.
Easily one of the most recognizable mammal species in North America, the appearance of a striped skunk is often met with anxiety and fear. Originally, skunks lived almost exclusively in rural grassland and woodland habitats across much of Canada and the United States.
Skunks are omnivores, meaning that they will feed on both plant and animal material. During the summer months, skunks will feed heavily on insects and small rodents such as mice and voles. They will also feed on berries, roots, grasses, and nuts. In urban environments, skunks are often attracted to human garbage, which provides an easy and plentiful food source.
Skunks are most active during the dawn and dusk hours. During the day they rest in underground burrows. Always resourceful, skunks will take advantage of easily accessible urban shelters. Homeowners are discovering, for years, skunks that have been living under their backyard deck, or in a hole under their front steps. Sadly, all too often skunks are relocated due to being perceived as “pests”, when in fact they can be highly beneficial to have around.
This juvenile skunk was brought to AIWC after it was found emaciated, lethargic, and unable to move. After arriving at AIWC it was found that he had a plastic ligature around his neck. Much like a six-ring pack, that you would find on a set of soda cans. We believe the plastic had been wrapped around its neck since late July. The plastic debris was immediately removed, though he is currently suffering from a large deep wound around the neck. With specialized care and a strict antibiotic regimen, we hope he will make a full recovery in time to be released this spring.