Do skunks swim?

Skunks can live in a variety of habitats. In the wild, they can live in burrows or in tree hollows. They can also survive in many habitats away from their natural habitat. When their dens are destroyed or they are in danger, skunks can find ways to escape including burrowing or even swimming. Like most mammals, skunks can swim. They are born with this ability. There are many reasons why skunks will swim across a body of water. They may be migrating to another habitat for food and shelter. During mating season, skunks may have to travel far distances in search of a mate. They can also move from one habitat to the other in preparation for winter or they may be running away from danger. No matter what the case may be, skunks are pretty much adapted to whatever habitat they find themselves in. Since skunks are terrestrial animals, one may therefore assume that skunks cannot swim. This is however not true. Skunks are not the best swimmers and they don't jump into the water at every chance they get. However, if they have to, skunks can swim. They can swim across streams and small rivers to get away from harm, find food, or find a mate.

Are skunks good swimmers?
As much as skunks are good burrowers, they are not good swimmers. Similar to their climbing skills, skunks are not good swimmers like some other mammals but they make do if they have to. However, the striped skunk is relatively better at swimming than other species but it does not like to be inside the water. Skunks do not like cold temperatures. This is one of the reasons why they stay in their dens during the winter even though they do not hibernate. They will however get in the water if it means survival for them.

How do skunks swim?
When swimming, skunks make use of the web in between their toes but they are relatively slower than most aquatic animals. They paddle using their two front paws and keep their heads above the water. The hind feet are used to propel the skunk forward as it swims on.

What to do if you find a skunk in your pool or pond?
If you have a pool or pond on your property, it may not be too surprising to find a skunk inside. Sometimes the skunk may fall in while trying to grab a meal from the small aquatic animals in the pond or it may use your pool to cross to the other side of your property. When this happens, bear in mind that skunks can take care of themselves and get out of the pool. If you see signs of drowning, then you can help by extending a branch or supporting it to hold onto it. Bear in mind that it is possible for skunks to interpret your help as an attack and end up spraying you so whatever you do, it's best to keep your distance.

What if a skunk sprays in your pool?
If a skunk has released its foul smelling spray into your pool either as a result of the shock while it fell or trying to spray you while you help it get out, you should immediately drain the water. Skunk spray can linger on surfaces and even in water for a long time. Therefore, do not attempt to recycle the water. Drain the pool and have it cleaned, preferably with oil removal detergents, before using it again. As a precaution, you may decide to get tapelines to cover up your pool to avoid future run-ins.

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