Q:

How Are Skunks a Threat to Each Other?

A:

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Skunks often do not have quarrels with one another except during the mating season or the fall months when seeking a warm den space. Skunks are predominantly threatened by outside forces such as bears or other predators.

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Skunks typically refrain from spraying other skunks unless there is a fight between males for a female during the mating season, which only lasts one or two months. If a female skunk is no longer in heat and a male skunk attempts to mate with her, she may spray him to keep him away. Otherwise, when a skunk is threatened, whether by a predator or another skunk, it usually acts out through multiple behaviors such as hissing, stomping its feet, raising its tail or using other threatening postures before resorting to spraying. This is because skunks only produce enough of the chemical for five or six uses, and they require roughly 10 days to produce more.

During autumn, skunks rarely fight each other over den space for the coming winter months. If fights do occur, they are usually resolved quickly using teeth and claws. For the most part, skunks are tolerant of each other. In fact, a male skunk may den with a group of females during the winter months and even allow other creatures, such as rabbits and groundhogs, to share the same den.

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