There are many things to consider before making the decision to become a skunk owner. With a bit of research potential owners can learn all they need to have a great pet and be able to provide the necessary care for a domestic skunk. In some states, it is illegal to have this animal as a pet, so this is the first step to take. Make sure it is allowed and that there is a nearby vet that can offer care to the animal from a young age on up. With some general research, you will soon find whether you can enjoy the company of these loving and curious critters in your home.
Domestic skunks can come in different colors and patterns and while most are black and white striped skunks, there are also spotted patterns that can be found. Most striped skunks weigh about 14 pounds while the spotted skunks are much smaller, weighing just 1 to 3 pounds. The lifespan of a skunk is not as long as other domestic pets. In fact, skunks will only live between 6 and 10 years. There are many diseases that claim the life of a skunk, even when well cared for. These include:
- Heart disease
- Bone disease
Unlike many other pets that are owned, there is no vaccine for rabies when it comes to a skunk. This means that if it bites a visitor, it will have to be tested for rabies and if it is positive, the animal will have to be destroyed. There are distemper vaccines that can be administered, but these often come with adverse reactions, so they are not always a good option.
When planning, make sure to get a skunk as young as possible, before they are sexually mature. The skunk must be descented and their scent gland removed to prevent them from spraying. This is typically a surgery that is perfumed before the animal reaches 6 months of age. It is also important to spay or neuter the animal. It should be known that even when the scent gland is removed and the skunk cannot spray, it may still have a slight odor and this is normal.
When it comes to feeding the pet, they will require a large variety of foods. These animals are naturally used to eating a multitude of insects, fruits, veggies and small animals for their source of fat and protein. There are some formulated and pre-packaged foods that can be purchased, but it is best to feed them fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked poultry, grains other healthy foods. Nuts and dog kibble can also be mixed in to offer a variety and some added nutrients. Young skunks will need to eat several times during the day, but an adult pet will only require feeding on the morning and evening.
There are many things to learn about having a skunk as a pet and these are just some of the basics that should be known. With some time and research anyone can learn how to provide a safe and loving home for these unique animals.