You might be thinking, do people really keep skunks in their homes as pets?!? Even with their nasty ability to spray that horrible/dreadful odor that takes days to wear off?!
Well, to the surprise of many, skunks are getting much attention from pet owners, labeling them as excellent pets to have and great partners. Regarding the smell, you can remove a skunk’s scent glands to stop them from spraying their nastiness all over the place.
Skunks are brilliant creatures that learn from their owners and adapt to their homes, especially if you’re able to get one from an early age. You’ll quickly see how they learn your behavior and change their lifestyle to suit.
Some personality traits of a skunk have been compared to cats, ferrets, or even dogs! This all depends on their habitat, learning ability, and the personality of the owner.
If you’re interested in learning more about pet skunks or if you’re looking to get one, this article will give you a brief guide on how to keep your stinky pet happy and healthy.
What You Can Expect From a Pet Skunk
The first thing you should keep in mind about skunks is that a domesticated skunk acts very different then a wild skunk.
Don’t try taking a wild skunk out of their natural habitat to keep as a pet or you’ll probably get in a lot of trouble, both with the authorities and yourself. The animal might be a little too aggressive to stay in a house.
On the other hand, skunks kept in captivity and bred for pets are quite docile and gentle creatures, often compared to cats and other curious animals.
After playing with one for a couple of hours, you’ll quickly learn why they’re gaining so much popularity as household pets.
They’re social animals and love to cuddle, but require plenty of patience if you wish to train them or control their impulse to scratch furniture and floors.
The Legality of Keeping a Skunk
Skunks are mostly legal to keep as pets in several countries and some states of the USA.
However, always ask your local authorities on the status of keeping a skunk, you might need a special license or permit to keep them or will need to get insurance.
The critical issue with skunks that prevents them from being legal in some countries is the possibility of the animal to carry rabies, making skunks potentially harmful.
If you’re worried about keeping a pet skunk that could potentially have the rabies virus, you should know that skunks bred in captivity are safe as they don’t have any contact with wildlife animals or other agents that could expose them to the virus.
Care and Maintenance of Your Pet Skunk
Skunks are medium maintenance pets, they are omnivorous and require a balanced diet of meat, vegetables, and fruits. Domestic skunks have a lifespan of 10 years, but with delicate care and attention, some rare cases have reached 15 years.
You need to keep them in safe rooms or large pens as they hate small enclosures and get aggressive if held in little space.
Always make sure your house is safe and escape-proof since skunks love exploring and will try to escape to find new places, but unlike cats, they’re terrible with their sense of direction and will get lost easily in new places.
The most important aspect of taking care of a skunk is taking it to a PROPER veterinarian who knows how to specifically treat skunks. They’re not like any other common pet, and their medications might not be easily available, so make sure to find a vet who can treat your skunk before getting one.
Where to Get a Pet Skunk
If you’re in the United States, you’ll find associations and pet stores that breed pet skunks.
In the rest of the world, although it may be slightly more complicated, you’ll have to ask around in pet stores for reputable breeders of skunks. Make sure to research first on how they got the skunks… as wild born skunks are not safe as pets.
Should You Have a Skunk as a Pet?
Skunks are unique animals, they can become excellent companions that will reward you with tons of love and friendship – in this regard they can rival cats and dogs. BUT, you must be aware that they’re harder to keep healthy and can be very picky.
If you’re an experienced pet owner who would love to try out a different sort of pet, you might find skunks a welcoming change; their playful and curious behavior might surprise you.
You’ll find that domestic skunks are a unique pet, and you might fall in love quickly. As always, make sure to do some research on how to keep one before you even think of buying one. Here on GeoZoo we have plenty of information on all sorts of pets, so look around.
What do you think? Do you own a pet skunk? Share your experiences and let us know in the comments