Creature Feature

Creature Feature – Snuggly Snoozers

Posted by  //  February 27, 2021  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Unlike some animals, striped skunks don’t stockpile food for the winter months.  Instead, they eat as much as they can each fall to build up fatty layers under the skin that act as insulation.  Skunks choose den sites based on the time of year, so their winter dens differ from those used to raise young, for example.  Although they can excavate their own burrow, skunks often use abandoned fox or groundhog holes, as well as hollow logs, for winter homes.  Those living near people may den beneath decks or porches.  Once settled into their winter quarters, skunks block the entry with grass and leaves to help keep out the cold.  Some folks are surprised to learn that skunks don’t enter a full state of hibernation but instead experience ‘torpor’.  They’ll sleep deeply but awaken now and then in response to temperature or the need to forage for food as those valuable layers of fat are metabolized over the course of the season.  It isn’t unusual for skunks to bunk together in winter, and their combined body heat helps them stay warm.  This survival tactic is known as ‘social thermoregulation’.  Simply put, they are “skunk snuggling.”  Let’s just hope they use air fresheners.

Article by Margie Manthey
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm