Are you constantly smelling skunk spray around your neighborhood? You may be surprised to know that the little striped critters probably have a den nearby. But where do skunks live?
Skunks live in forests, grasslands, deserts, scrubs, and urban areas of North, Central, and South America as well as Southeast Asia. A skunk will create a den by burrowing underground or using dens abandoned by other wildlife. Property structures such as sheds, porches, barns, and crawl spaces are ideal to provide skunks with safety and shelter.
If you want to know more about where skunks live then keep reading. This guide will take you through everything you want to know about a skunk’s habitat, where they live in the world, and why they choose to live where they do.
Let’s get started.
What do skunks need from a Den?
Skunks will live in pretty much any place they can build a den. Knowing what a skunk looks for in a den will help you to understand why they may choose to live in a certain place.
Skunks need their dens to provide as much cover as possible. Not only does cover help to keep skunks safe from predators but it also keeps them protected from harsh weather conditions. Skunks will look for habitats that are dark, warm, and secluded. During the breeding season, a den with good cover will help to provide safety for the skunks vulnerable young when the female is foraging.
Food and water
Having a food source nearby is an important factor for skunks finding a good den area. Skunks have really poor eyesight, so the closer they live to food the more likely they are to survive. Skunks will try to live within a two-mile radius of a clean water source.
Skunks need space to carry out daily activities such as eating and sleeping. They may also need to consider if there will be other skunks to live in the area such as baby kits or overwintering with other skunks for body heat.
Where do skunks live during the day?
Knowing exactly where skunks like to build their dens is really useful to know, especially if it’s on your property. Let’s take a look at the common places where skunks will build a den.
Skunk Dens in Urban Areas
Skunks will often build dens near your home because of the benefits that it offers them.
Common places to find skunks on your property are:
- Under porches
- Crawl Space
- Under walls
These areas are easy for skunks to gain access to and get in and out easily. All of these areas will provide the skunk with cover to protect them from predators and bad weather.
As some of these places are near to your house, the skunk can enjoy a warm den due to the heat radiating out of your home.
Building a den in these places will also help the skunk to stay close to a good food source. Your yard may be ideal with trash cans, bird feeders, fruit trees, or vegetable gardens. Even a June bug grub infestation in your soil will attract skunks.
Skunk Dens in Wild Areas
Skunks that live in the wilderness will need to find areas that have similar benefits to urban areas. Their dens are close to the ground as most skunks are pretty poor at climbing.
Common places to find skunk dens in the wild are:
- Wood piles
- Hollow Logs
- Tree Trunks
- Large rocks crevices
Skunks will often use dens abandoned by other animals such as foxes, ground squirrels, groundhogs, or rabbits. If a skunk can’t find a ready-made den, it will burrow into the soil and create its own den. They will usually try to do this with some type of cover overhead such as leaves, wood, or rocks.
Skunks in rural areas will usually try to live within 2 miles of a freshwater source. This will often mean they will have a rich source of insects which make up a large part of their diet in the warmer seasons.
Where do skunks live in the world?
There are 9 species of skunk that live in the Americas and Southeast Asia. Skunks are not native to any other continents. Each species of skunk is quite specific in the area that it lives.
Let’s look at where each skunk species lives.
The striped skunk is the most popular type of skunk and the one you’ll be most familiar with. Striped skunks range from southern Canada to Northern Mexico. You’ll find striped skunks living in every state of mainland USA but not Alaska or Hawaii.
Striped skunks are well adapted to urban areas and will reside there as much as they do in rural areas.
Eastern Spotted Skunk
As the name suggests Eastern spotted skunks are found in the east. Their range is from southeast Canada through eastern US states and down to northeast Mexico. Eastern spotted skunks don’t live any further west than Wyoming, Colorado, and Texas.
Eastern spotted skunks live in a variety of environments from woodlands to prairies and mountains.
Spotted skunks are not as well adapted to humans as striped skunks are. You’re much more likely to find a spotted skunk in a rural location rather than an urban location.
Spotted skunks are slightly different from striped skunks as they are good climbers. This means spotted skunks can live in dens slightly higher off the ground than a striped skunk.
Western Spotted Skunk
The western spotted skunks are found on the west coast of the USA ranging down from southwest Canada to Mexico. Western spotted skunks don’t extend any further east than Montana, Colorado, North Dakota, and Texas.
Western spotted skunks live in dry, desert-like climates, but, they also live in the wetlands of the pacific coast.
Southern Spotted skunk
The southern spotted skunk is a species native to Central America. Its range extends down from southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and Costa Rica.
The southern spotted skunk lives in lots of different environments. This includes rocky areas, woodlands, and open fields.
Molina hog-nose skunk
The Molina hog-nosed skunk is also known as the Andes Skunk. It’s a species that is native to South America. This species of skunk lives in Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Uruguay.
The Molina hog-nosed skunk tends to live in high lands with lots of open fields, vegetation, and shrubbery. They also live close to rocky areas which they use for shelter.
The pygmy skunk lives in a very small area of Mexico. You’ll only find this tiny skunk along the pacific coast.
The pygmy skunk is mostly found in sparse woodland and fields. They try to avoid dense forests or swampy regions. The pygmy skunk is a variety of spotted skunks and is a good climber. This means they have the ability to climb to find shelter in trees.
The hooded skunk is another species of skunk that can be found in some areas of mainland USA. This species is only found in the southwestern states of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
The species range extends down into Central America. They can be found in large numbers in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
These skunks prefer to live in the lowlands including grass areas, deserts, and at the bottom of mountains.
Humboldt Hog nosed skunk
The Humboldt hog-nosed skunk is a species native to South America. This skunk lives in the Patagonian regions of southern Argentina and Chile.
You’ll find the Humboldt hog-nosed skunk has a preference for open grassy areas.
Stink badgers have recently been reclassified as a member of the skunk family. This species of skunk is native to Southeast Asia mainly Indonesia and the Philippines.
Unlike the nocturnal skunks that live in the Americas, stink badgers are diurnal, which means they are more active in the daytime. Stink badgers can be found in both low and highland areas. They tend to stick to forested areas or the open areas around the forest edge.
What Climate Do Skunks live in?
Skunks mainly live in areas with a temperate climate. This means they will experience warm summers and cold winters. They will also experience a moderate amount of rainfall throughout the year.
Skunks can also live in arid climates in some states of the US and areas of southern America. This is dry desert climate where there is very little rainfall and high temperatures.
Due to the large range that some species of skunk live in they can be also be found in subtropical rainforests and also in mountain highlands.
Where do skunks live in winter?
Skunks don’t hibernate or migrate in winter. That means they will stay in the area that they usually live all year-round. Skunks that live in temperate climates with cold winters will need to make adaptations to survive over the winter month.
Skunks will try to find overwintering dens. These will usually be larger than a skunk’s usual den as s few skunks may stay together to share body heat.
The reason you may not see skunks as much in winter is that once temperatures dip below a certain level the skunk will go into a state of torpor to save energy. This allows them to go a few days without needing to forage for food when availability is low.
Skunks are highly adaptable creatures that live in a variety of places. They mainly live in the Americas and Southeast Asia. The climate range that skunk cover means they can live in a whole variety of areas. You’ll find skunks living in forests, fields, mountains, rainforests, and deserts.
Also, skunks are becoming more accustomed to living alongside humans. They will set up homes near property if it provides them with food, water, shelter, and space. This may be able to help you to locate a skunk that’s moved into your area.