Keeping Pet Skunks, Care and Reasons to have Skunks as Pets

Depending on your state of residence, keeping pet skunks may or may not be legal. There is a whole lot of difference when it comes to regulations governing the ownership of domesticated skunks from state to state. The same applies to breeding as well as keeping skunks for sale. In this post we delve into the details of these and much more on how to go about owning and enjoying pet skunks.

Skunks as Pets

You most probably know skunks for their ability to spray some terrible fluid on perceived enemies. This may thus leave you wondering do skunks make good pets? Pet skunks have their scent emitting glands removed at about the age of four years. This, though, is illegal in the UK.

Pet skunks feeding
Pet skunks feeding

Skunk pets are capable of living indoors with human beings just as cats and dogs do. However, skunks as pets tend to be rare due to the complexity of their care and restrictive laws. They are mainly kept in Germany, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Poland and the United States.

In the United States, they are not legal in all the states. It would therefore be important to check on the legality of these pets.

According to skunkhaven.net, skunks as pets are what you make out of them. By the time they get to nine to ten months of age, they will have settled into habits and attained a specific personality. The better you care for your skunk the better and more tolerant it will be to its owners, strangers as well as other pets.

To further enrich your experience with a skunk as a pet, you need to properly train and care for them. A lack of knowledge and understanding for the care of the skunks all affect them negatively just like poor diet and mistreatment.

These are issues you should be aware of before settling into keeping a skunk as a pet. To enrich your experience with them you could watch videos on the same as well as seek information from local breeders.

Skunk Pet Veterinary Care

In most cases, when purchasing baby skunks as pets from a store, they will only have had their glands removed. Other than this, it is likely that they will not have had any other medical treatment. As such, it will be necessary to oversee other skunk pet veterinary care procedures carried out to ensure they stay well and healthy.

Some of the necessary procedures include deworming, vaccine shots, neutering and spaying. They also require an annual checkup so that you can get advised on whether any dietary supplements or changes are necessary. We get into the details of these below.

Deworming Pet Skunks

Roundworms have been known to kill skunk pets. Their eggs remain viable even after extreme weather conditions. Talk to your vet for necessary deworming. The most common species in these pets is the Baylisascaris columnaris.

Before the eggs start being visible in the feces, round worms could have infested the skunks for a while. More than one treatment may be necessary to keep the worms away when you are keeping a skunk as a pet. Start the deworming program anywhere between seven and eight weeks of age and administer three to four treatments biweekly.

Once the first series of deworming is over, adult pet skunks should be dewormed every four to six months. An annual stool sample should also be checked by the vet to keep your skunk worms free. Avoid administering dewormers too frequently as this will result in worms becoming resistant.

Spaying and Neutering Baby Pet Skunks

Every male pet skunk should be neutered between three and four months. The females should undergo neutering at four to six months. While purchasing a skunk, find out if this has been done or not.

Baby skunks
Baby skunk pets should be neutered or spayed at four to six months

Vaccinations for Skunks

Keeping skunks as pets also comes with the added responsibility of having them vaccinated against diseases. Skunk organizations recommend that skunks be vaccinated against distemper and rabies.

There is evidence that distemper causes serious illness in skunk pets. It is not necessary to administer other vaccines that may be created for cats and dogs as these are modified and may end up causing illnesses in skunks.

Declawing Pet Skunks

Skunk pets use their claws to handle food and should therefore not be declawed. To handle their claws, keep them well trimmed on regular basis. Skunks have digging claws such as those of the dog as opposed to clipping claws such as those in cats. They therefore should not be too much of a concern. Where you are not in a position to handle their claws, have it done by your vet.

Pet Skunks for Sale

In the United States, pet skunks for sale can be found in licensed shelters. You could also buy one from the American Skunk Association as well as other non-profit organizations carrying out education on having skunks as pets.

There also are some breeders with permits from the United States’ Department of Agriculture the Animal and Plant Inspection Service Unit. The availability of baby skunks as pets tends to pick after the skunk mating season in the spring. Fur farm owners could also sell their extras to pet stores and interested individuals.

In case you are wondering whether you can get a skunk pet for sale in PA, Ohio, Oklahama, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin, New Jersey or anywhere else near you, you can check with the relevant bodies. The cost as well as regulations for owning a skunk as a pet will vary from state to state. Find out as much information as you can before purchasing one.

Domesticated pet skunks are legal to keep in the UK. However, the removal of their scent glands is illegal. This is following an Animal Welfare Act of 2006 which considers the procedure cosmetic operation. This may make skunks difficult to keep in the UK as a lot of owners may fear getting skunked. Skunks though will only spray when faced by a threat as a means of self-defense.

Generally, pet skunks on sale will range from $300 to $500 in price. The cost will vary from state to state and shelter to shelter. Other factors affecting the cost include the species. Some specifications may cost you more than others. While most skunks on sale in the US have their glands removed, not all will have been spayed or neutered. Skunks pets for sale in UK though will still have the glands since the procedure is illegal.

When purchasing skunks as pets the necessary shots may also not have been administered. Those that have all these procedures done tend to be more expensive. While getting your skunk as a pet, be certain to ask for a health certificate. Also get information on the shipping costs and terms to help you get the most appropriate estimate of the total costs. While some states such as Michigan allow skunks, you can only get one from a breeder within as importing from other states is not allowed.

Why you should keep a Domesticated Skunk

Skunks are mostly known for their secretion of a bad smelling fluid. It usually is a pain trying various methods on how to get rid of skunk smell on dogs, cats and surfaces. Since most people have this perception of skunks, it at times becomes hard to get a different view of a domesticated skunk. To most some people, owning a pet skunk may be alien. However, there is much to them than their terrible spray which is made impossible in domesticated skunks.

Enjoying time with a skunk
Pet skunks make great buddies once socialized

There are 12 species of skunks and their general appearance varies from species to species. There are some that are black and white while others will be cream or brown colored. The striped skunk species has over time proved to be the most social of them all and thus is the one mostly domesticated. This variety gives room for you as an owner to choose what suits you best based on personal preference.

While keeping a domesticated skunk as a pet, their life span tends to stretch longer than that of typical wild skunks. This can be attributed to the reduced number of predators as well as proper nutrition and care that comes with domestication. As such, skunks as pets will offer a lifelong companionship to their owner. This will span from 10 to 15 years with some being said to live for up to 20 years.

Before settling for a domesticated skunk as your pet, it is important to understand their needs well. Although they are great when socialized, single skunk pets will require more attention and pampering from their owners. If you can, have at least two skunks to reduce their dependability on you.

Also important to note is that a domesticated skunk cannot be released back to the wild. This is because it will have lost its first line of defense and will thus be vulnerable to predators. Be certain that you want to keep one before buying. If for whatever reason it gets to a point where you can no longer have one, get a shelter for skunks and leave it there. This will not only be safe for the pet skunk but it will also make it easier for it to be adopted.

Do Skunks Make Good Pets

Are skunks good pets? This is a concern we would not love to leave unexplored after providing the above basic info.

Compared to other pets, caring for pet skunks is more challenging and complicated. There also is difficulty finding experienced veterinarians for treating your pet. This most of the times leads to people wondering; do skunks make good pets?

Although there is scarcity of scientific information regarding keeping skunks as pets, if you are enthusiastic, you will reap the best from keeping a skunk as a pet. However, a lack of knowledge may lead to negative behavior such as biting and failure to use the litter box. This normally happens when the skunk is mistreated.

For your pet skunk to turn out really great, the owner has to be good to it as well. This will socialize the skunk and keep it loyal once it establishes you are the boss. This will yield a rewarding relationship. In case after all efforts of having skunks as pets they do not turn around for you, you could opt to have it relocated to skunk shelters.

8 comments

  1. I want a pet skunk. But I don’t know if my family would like one. Do hey make good pets for children?

    • Pet skunks are descented and thus make good pets. As long as they are vaccinated, dewormed and their claws trimmed they should be okay around kids.

    • No. I just got bit by mine today, and she bit my finger and chipped my bone

      • Anything can bite. It is how you’ve trained your pet as well as the habits developed. I have had ferrets for years, they are scary to people because they come at you with their teeth. But, if you socialize and train your animal that biting is not acceptable, just like with a ferret, you tend to not have this problem.

  2. My skunk’s name is Clark. He’s such a mama’s boy X3
    He’s pretty good with kids so I’d assume other skunks are too 😛

  3. We have a male who is 5 months old. His name is Ollie and we love him! The only bad thing I can say about him is that he plays rough! My arms are a mess. I know he is only playing but it still hurts and I definitely won’t let my grandson play with him for specifically that reason.

  4. I had a friend with one, when I was younger and they love cat toys.

    So buy cat toys.

  5. trying to save

    i am looking for help in N. New Mexico for orphan infant.
    is there some place to take it or have its stinker removed so it can live cared for on our property??

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