You are likely thinking, “Skunks?” Yep, you read it right. SKUNK. Contrary to popular belief, skunks make great pets.
The first thing that most think of when a skunk comes to mind is a bad smell. Skunks don’t smell bad, their SPRAY smells bad. Remove their ability to spray and there is no odor.
Skunks are playful and very affectionate. You can hold and cuddle a skunk 24 hours a day and it still wouldn’t be enough. They like to stomp at you with their front feet, charge you and then turn around and raise their tail at you and try to get you to get down on the floor and play with them. They like to sleep in bed with you and snuggle around your neck when they are babies.
Skunks are very intelligent creatures. They can open nearly ANY of the lower cabinets in your home. Many have been known to open refrigerators as well.
Would a pet skunk get along well with my other house pets? Of course their will be some sort of pecking order established with your pets as is normal when any new pet enters the home but skunks generally get along fine with other household pets.
What do skunks eat? A skunk will eat ANYTHING. Some think they can feed a skunk cat food. Sure, they’ll eat it but it’s not good for them and will shorten their normal 10-12 year life span to about 3-4 years. Cat food is very high in fat content and over time it will destroy a skunk’s liver because they can’t properly metabolize it. You want to find things your skunk likes and things that are GOOD for your skunk. They like fruits and veggies, yogurt, tuna, chicken; a vanilla wafer cookie is good for a treat too. You can find all sorts guides on feeding skunks and recipes for them as well.
Get your skunk spayed or neutered! This is a MUST. 4 months old isn’t too early. You don’t want to let your pet skunk get in heat. It’s not a pretty process. A female skunk will loose her appetite, her hair and get very nasty. A male skunk will get absolutely ferocious nasty. Male skunks are among the nastiest creatures on earth during mating season. The reason why this is so is because female skunks are “induced ovulators”. The male skunk has to use “terror tactics” to get the female skunk to ovulate. It’s a rather brutal process for the female skunk. If you want a pet skunk, it’s imperative that you get your skunk spayed or neutered.
Find a vet. Not all vets treat skunks. Before you get a pet skunk, find a vet that can and will treat your skunk. When speaking to a vet, make sure you tell him or her that this skunk will be coming from a reputable breeder, not from the wild. A good question to ask your vet is “What would you do if my pet skunk bit someone on your staff?”. Thing is that there is no approved rabies vaccination for skunks. So if a skunk bites someone and they report it, that skunk HAS to be put to death so that they may take a brain tissue sample of the animal to test it for rabies. Make sure you have all the paperwork from your reputable breeder and keep it in a safe place. Bring all paperwork proving that your skunk came from a reputable breeder when you visit the vet.
Keep your skunk inside. Unlike cats and dogs, skunks do not have a natural homing instinct. If they get out, they’ll just wander and with no scent glands, they have no defense against dogs or other animals. They’re not fast on their feet at all. Pet carriers and such are good for time outs and things but not a good home for your skunk. A skunk that’s kept caged will become mean. It’s important to let them roam in the home and co-exist with you.
Is it legal to have a pet skunk? Not in all states in the USA unfortunately. Check with your state’s “Department of Local Conservation and Natural Resources” or your state’s “Fish and Game Commission”. Currently to my knowledge, the following list of legal states is as follows: Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, and Indiana. If you don’t see your state on the list, call the mentioned organizations for your state and inquire. Some states that are not on the list have special requirements. Some require you to purchase a special permit. Some officials, from the same state, have been known to interpret the law differently, causing confusion over what the actual law is. Some legal states have even instituted a new rule that lets the local townships make up the laws about pet skunk ownership. So it may be a good idea to check with your local government as well.
How do I discipline a pet skunk? Skunks need to be taught from an early age not to bite. They have very sharp teeth and can leave a nasty puncture wound. Disciplining them in an aggressive manor will result in them developing into a mean skunk and you don’t want that. A loud voice or a loud clap usually works well as well as time outs inside an empty bathtub.
How will a skunk interact with my children? Skunks usually interact well with calm children. Aggressive, chasing or grabby children will not do well with skunks. Mutual respect must be taught between the children and skunk for your skunk to be a good pet.
Skunks are very intelligent and strong for their size. They can get behind or IN just about anything in your house they desire. They love to root around in anything left around like a pocketbook, laundry basket of clothes, potted plants, and trashcans.
They can be very demanding pets as well. When they want to eat, they’ll bug you until you feed them. When they want to snuggle or play, they’ll bug you until you oblige. They love to be held and petted once you have caught them. They usually make a game out of you trying to catch them. They can be tons of fun.
OK, I want one. Where can I obtain one? Skunks are born in the spring usually within the month of May. Most breeders decent them at 4 – 6 weeks of age and release them to their owners at 6 – 8 weeks in June or July. Start researching breeders a few months or up to a year before their born. Some breeders compile a waiting list and require deposits. Price wise, they usually go for between $200-$300 for a standard black and white skunk. Chocolate or albino skunks can be more.
So if you’ve always thought that those skunks that are getting into your garbage at night were cute, now (if you live in a legal state), you can have one for your very own.