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Skunks Hibernating
by Tom Mugridge

Q: So why do I see skunks out now - in winter? And eating our garbage. Aren't they supposed to hibernate?

We never used to see skunks till spring. Does this mean anything?
Tony from Lyndhurst

A: Skunks are not "true hibernators" like black bears, gophers and bats. Rather, they sleep and eat to survive through the winter, so they "nap and snack" (sort of like us guys sometimes, on a lazy weekend at home!).

Anyway, during the coldest times they sleep, and live off their body fat, but the fat lasts for only so long.

They will rouse themselves when the temperatures get higher and dodge out for a snack, and our garbage is one of their favorite dining-out spots.

So, it looks like the skunks have begun their annual return. I saw one ambling across a road out in Willoughby in mid-February, in the middle of the afternoon. I guess it must have lost its watch, and didn't realize it was daytime.



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