Although some people falsely believe that skunks hibernate, they do not. However, this does not mean that they do not go partially dormant (a state called torpor) once the days get shorter and night starts coming earlier. My girls have retreated to their den for long days of napping and are far less playful when they do bother to come out. After a conversation about this on the skunk forums I figured I would blog a bit about what you can and can't expect with your skunks in the wintertime.
Your skunks should not sleep constantly - If your skunk is sleeping all day every day and never coming out, check on them often and think about taking them to the vet. Though they do sleep longer hours, they will still come out in search of food.
You should not withhold food from your skunks - I have heard some vets say that skunks eat less in the winter so you should withhold one out of ever three or four meals. PLEASE, do not do this. The best way to deal with them sleeping more is to simply tone down the amount that you are feeding them per meal. Along with this, if my skunks are sleeping through breakfast and I am going to be home, I will leave the food out longer to allow them more time to nap, they will sometimes come out at odd hours to eat. If I am not going to be home I will go to their den and wake them up myself. Usually, once they see the food, they will eat what they want and then go back to sleep.
This may be the perfect time for snuggles - I have a rescue skunk that squirms a lot when you try to hold her, she wants down, and she runs back to her den to hide. The closer it gets to winter, the happier she is to instead snuggle up on my lap under a blanket staying warm and cozy. If you have had problems getting your skunk to snuggle, see if they are willing to let you in on their long winter naps. (as always, if you skunk is determined to get away when you attempt to snuggle, do not force them to stay, often this only encourages them to attempt to run faster next time you try.)
Beware your socks and hand towels - Because it is winter, and the nights and eventually days are getting much colder, skunks may feel the need to buff up their den with more nesting. Beware of small easily stolen articles of clothing, and keep an eye on your comforters as well, if your skunk decides they want it they WILL try to steal it.
Waking your skunk up will not hurt them - There are times where I shoo my skunks out of the den during the winter and take them out to the sidewalk cafe (with a comfy blanket padded stroller) or take them for a jaunt in the yard (or snow when I lived in Oregon.) They they may grouse at first, it doesn't hurt them, and it can keep them active and keep their weight down. If you are missing your balls of fluff and want them to come out and play, feel free to wake them up. Just don't be surprised if they are grumpy and retreat back to their home much sooner than usual.
All in all winter time with skunks is just a little lazier than summer time, and requires a bit more diligence in watching their weight and portions.