Skunks are not the right pet for everyone, but they are perfect for some people. Skunks do require a lot of love and attention; they are active and curious and sometimes even little thieves. They can be stubborn and headstrong, but they can also be friendly, loving, very entertaining and playful. People who get hooked on these marvelous pets are likely to develop a pleasurable life-long addiction to them!
Skunks are only born at one time of year, in the spring, mostly during the month of May. Most breeders will de-scent them at 4 – 6 weeks of age and then they’ll start arriving at the Pets Plus Parrish store. We do generally have a waiting list, so if you decide a skunk is right for you it is best to stop in and talk to us as soon as possible.
Skunks come in a variety of colors; black & white, brown & white, gray & white, cream & white, apricot and albino. They also have many different pattern markings consisting of stripes, spots, and swirls. Some of these colors and markings are hard to come by, others are more common.
Baby skunks weigh about 1 ounce when they are born, and by the time they are 8 months old, they weigh about 8 pounds. So a young skunk has 12 to 18 months to grow strong teeth, muscles, bones and organs. It must have calcium, protein and all essential vitamins and minerals in the right proportions to THEIR growth rate, not ours. We can recommend the right diet, and remember that too much dog food or junk food can give them too much calcium and protein, leading to bad teeth, arthritis, degenerative bone disease and paralysis later in life. Do not be tempted or talked into feeding higher protein foods than are recommended here, and never feed them cat food unless directed by a vet.
Cages and carriers are good training tools to teach discipline, but skunks do need ample time out of their cages and interacting with their family. Before letting them free run of any areas in your home, though, make sure they are adequately skunkproof: they are very capable of opening almost any cabinet in your house – some have even found a way to open the refrigerator. Skunks can also climb. They love to investigate and are generally not worried about safety when they explore. This is why it is important that we protect them from danger by putting child locks on cabinets and blocking off areas that are not safe.
Sanitation & Hygiene
Bathing and nail clipping are important to the health and well being of your pet skunk. Most skunks, if introduced early and often to baths, adapt well. Some skunks love the water and learn to swim with ease. If a skunk has been descented properly, there will be very little, if any, odor surrounding them. Bathing on a bi-monthly basis is usually all that is needed. Some skunks groom themselves well and only need 1 or 2 baths a year. Nail clipping, on the other hand, should be done every couple of weeks to keep the nails at a respectable length. Skunks shed twice a year. They shed their soft downy layer of fur in the spring and their longer courser coat in the fall. Shedding is usually less than that of a cat or a dog and lasts a shorter period of time.
With proper care and diet, skunks tend to be healthy. It’s important to know that skunks can not be neutered until they are at least six months old, which means it is something you will need to see to. It is important to locate a vet who has experience with the animals, so please ask us for recommendations.
Worming is needed to protect your skunk from various parasites that might infest his body. Roundworms are the most common. Over the counter worm medication given every couple of months and a yearly stool sample check at the vet are recommended. Fleas are usually not a problem, but may become one if your skunk communes with another pet that is left outdoors often. Flea remedies can be used on skunks, but they are more sensitive than cats and dogs, and care needs to be taken to use one that won’t harm your skunk.
Many people who are allergic to cats and dogs have found that they are not allergic to skunks. However, skunks do produce a dander and some people have had allergic reactions to this. The best way to tell if you think you might be allergic is to visit someone who already has a skunk for a pet. Usually the symptoms will appear quickly if you have an allergy to them.
With the proper diet and exercise, most skunks will live an average of eight to twelve years.
If you have questions about your skunk, do not hesitate to contact us. You, your veterinarian, and the staff here at the store will form the team, which will be responsible for yourskunk ’s well being.
- Large cage
- Water bottle
- Food dish
- A variety of fresh foods
- Nest box
- Fleece bedding