Kris Porter, a wildlife rehabilitator, recently had to jump into action when five rare, orphaned baby skunks showed up at her wildlife sanctuary.
These lil stinkers were brought to Porter after their mom died. She is the founder of Owl's Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife, which is based outside Tampa, Florida. She takes in all kinds of injured animals and orphaned babies. This year alone, she estimates she's helped around 300 opossums, 200 squirrels, and a record number of songbirds thanks to a warm winter that led to an extended breeding season.
If you find yourself thinking "Aw! Look at those buddies! But where are their stripes?" Good eye. These are spotted skunks (different than the striped skunk made famous by Flower in Bambie or Pepe Le Pew) and they are rarer. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists them as "vulnerable" which means they are facing a risk of extinction in the wild.
Because of their vulnerability, it was lucky that these little guys were brought to Kris. Her four decades of experience made it easy for her to administer the care needed to keep these spotted skunks happy and healthy.
So what all did Kris do for them? Well first, they needed regular feedings of a specialty skunk milk replacement, administered via a syringe. And by some crazy coincidence, Kris had the specialty milk!
The baby skunks also needed a warm cozy place to sleep.
Her triage care was a success and now the five-some have graduated to skunk milk mixed with cereal and puppy chow for extra protein. Porter reports they eagerly wait by their enclosure's door every four hours when food is on the way.
All five of the fuzzy buddies (three girls and two boys) love to eat, they've even been known to climb into the middle of the food bowl so they can lick up every last drop.
Kris laughed it off saying "they're a disaster" and added that the skunks are less happy about their post-meal baby wipe baths. Luckily they're too young to spray and emphasize their disgruntled disposition.
If all goes according to plan the spotted skunks will be released back into the woods with the skills they need to thrive this fall!