If you think that skunks are cute, you are the perfect candidate to keep them as pets. Contrary to popular belief, they actually make really good house pets, and you'd be surprised at this as you read this article further. Having a skunk in the house is not as strange as it sounds, as many families have kept them and never regretted it ever. Yet, do remember to check whether it is actually legal in your country to do so. If it is, you can get baby skunks from registered breeders or licensed animal shelters. Remember, they are wild animals, and having any wild animal as a pet is always a tricky job.
They are generally disarmed of their infamous protection mechanism. Their stink glands are normally removed when they are sold as pets. Yet, they only spray their offensive odor when threatened or injured (they do not have an inexhaustible supply of the foul-smelling concoction and, therefore, have no choice but to use it wisely).
First, you need to first know what you are getting yourself into. These animals are highly intelligent, and they know the meanings of stubborn, hard-headed, and obstinate. Each one comes with a personality of its own, and all of them typically know what they want, and downright demand that they get it. They are physically stronger than their size, and so, it is not wise to have playful wrestling matches with them. They can get into the most impossible of places in your house, ones that you probably didn't even know existed.
So if you have lost your pet, it can most likely be found in your laundry, inside your recliner, or inside an unlocked closet. They are extremely loving and caring, and will love nothing more than playing with you. They are always entertaining, as they get up to some really weird antics, like trying to dig up your flooring to find an ancestral hidden treasure and trying to climb into the smallest of places. They come with a huge responsibility of keeping them safe. They are highly curious, and curiosity often gets them into trouble, just like their cat sisters. Pet ones are sensitive, and require a lot of gentle, loving care, not unlike human babies.
You have taken up a really high maintenance pet if you have skunks. All the following will be expected of you when you have this animal, so you better be prepared.
Do not feed your pet any cat food, for it will weaken its liver overtime, being very high in proteins and fat. Jane Bone's Skunk Brochure recommends a diet consisting of a mixture of vegetables, dry dog food, chicken, and tuna fish. Pieces of fruit, cottage cheese, yogurt, breakfast cereal, and wafer cookies can also be given occasionally. Generally, they should be fed 50% raw vegetables, 10% other whole foods, and 40% of other omnivorous foods, like millet, ground turkey, eggs, etc. A 24 hours supply of fresh, clean water is mandatory.
They need plenty of exercise, fun, play, and socializing. Do play with them everyday, be it a game of chase, stomp, or tug-of-war. A ball will always come handy when you want to play with your pet. Be firm on the no-biting instructions, for it usually comes up in their normal play routines. Most skunks have an innate need to get along with you, and so, are easy to train on good behavior. They will stick to it if you are firm and patient. No hitting or spanking if you do not want your pet growing bitter and vengeful. Generally, it is not needed either.
The more you hold your pet, the more used to he will be, and hence, more friendly towards humans. He has large canine incisors that can leave behind sharp puncture wounds even when inflicted playfully. So when you are on your hands and knees playing with your pet, make sure you have a toy between the two of you. They are perfectly safe when held in the arms and cuddled tightly. It is while playing that involuntary injuries can occur, so do be careful.
- Obesity is a common problem with these animals, so regular exercising and regulating food is a must. Let me warn you, your wily pet is sure to put on a woebegone face and come begging for more on his plate, with watery eyes and doleful looks, and you may have to firmly refuse filling up his bottomless pit of a stomach.
- Litter training is relatively easy with them, though they are quite willful to start with. With patient instructions on the subject, they are sure to learn fast.
- They need to be neutered or spayed early, as early as just 4 months. They need annual check up, and finding a knowledgeable vet for them can be one hell of a task.
- Though there are no approved vaccines for them, shots of Galaxy DA2PPvL+CV and Eclipse 4 must be given on a 'once a year' basis.
- Clear this common misconception, and know that not all skunk bites carry rabies. Unfortunately, if your pet bites someone, and it gets reported, he might be packed up and slaughtered in the name of testing by the Government. Make sure your pet does not come into contact with any outside animals, and that will keep him away from rabies.
- If you introduce your pet to a bathing regime early in his life, he will adapt very well. They love water, and swim very well too, so, it should be no big deal giving regular baths to them. They shed twice a year, and the hair might just be your problem.
- They are equipped with strong, long nails that come handy during digging. However, with pets, you will have to get them trimmed regularly. Getting the trimming might require a lot of physical effort on your part (not on his).
- Regular worming and flea control is a must for them, with the care that they are usually more sensitive to both the treatments than cats and dogs.
- You will have to skunk proof your house, and this means outsmarting your pet. This may be more difficult than you think, because these clever beings can think of the most unlikely places to push out through to freedom. Most of them can open cabinets, drawers, and even the refrigerator, so, protect yourself and them from these scenarios.
- Though they are mostly quiet, be prepared for noise if you have more than one animal in your house, or if you have other pets. The squealing takes getting used to. Do protect your pet from obnoxious children (that get on my nerves too) if you have aggressive, pushy, and clingy children in your house.
You will fondly remember the day you got your pet when you are lounging on the sofa with a warm ball of fur snuggled up inside your t-shirt, and another fur ball serving as your hot water bottle, on a cold winter night. You will also thank your stars when you have two pet skunks giving you the love to last a lifetime. It is something you can only imagine till you actually experience it.