The month of February is considered the month of love, and rightly so with Valentine’s Day celebrating togetherness and bonding relationships.
What about animals? Do they celebrate romance? Well, not really, but many nuisance animals do find themselves in mating season during the month of love. And while humans search for that mate to spend a lifetime with, there are some animals that just do not see it that way. Two examples of nuisance animals that are not committed to one another are the raccoon and the skunk. Both species are “polygynous” meaning that they mate with multiple partners and never form permanent bonds with their partners. These males also have nothing to do with raising the young.
Mating season for raccoons in Indiana is late January into early February. Birthing starts in April and goes into May. Why is this information important? During the mating season females are looking for a safe place where they can give birth and raise their young. The lesson here is to not make your home attractive to a mother coon. Button up soffits, holes in foundations and areas where there is good cover for the raccoon to have babies. Think of it this way, if a raccoon has young, there will likely be 1 to 9 babies so along with mom this is multiplying your problem. It is best to not let it happen by not providing a harborage for them or a ready meal of pet food left for your household pets outside the home.
Skunks mate in late February into early March. The females give birth to 4 to 7 young, usually in May. Males have nothing to do with the family after mating. Again, don’t make your home inviting to skunks unless you want to take a chance of your pets tangling with skunks living under or around your home or you experiencing that unusual ‘fragrance’ lingering around your home. Seal foundation openings and do not leave pet food out overnight since both the raccoon and skunk are opportunists eating a variety of foods including pet food, human food scraps, insects and garbage.
Nuisance wildlife can cause damage to your home, compromise the safety of your pets and disturb your peace of mind. Be proactive and do not procrastinate when preparing for unwanted animal pests.