Are you considering owning a skunk as a pet? They are so cute and adorable aren't they? Skunks can be excellent pets under the proper conditions. As is the case when aquiring any new pet, we believe that knowledge must be attained beforehand to insure that proper care can be given. Listed here are some facts about skunks and some questions that you may want to ask of yourself. These pages have been drawn up to protect skunks from entering environments that may not be suitable for them and to bring awareness to potential owners. They are also meant to be a beginning on education although the education never ends. We all are constantly searching for new and better ways for the best possible care for our skunks.
Do you live in a legal state? Laws vary from state to state and in some cases even from county to county. Keeping a skunk in an illegal situation can actually put the skunk's life in jeopardy and open yourself up for heartache and criminal prosecution. In many instances, the skunk may be put down rather than authorities taking the time and money to find care for them. Please, if you live in an illegal area, don't consider putting a skunk's life in danger.
Do you have others living in your household as eager as you are to own a skunk? This is quite important because these pets may require many changes to your lifestyle. There are many things in your home that need to be considered. Others in the household will need to be willing to make the same sacrifices that you will be making.
Do you have children in your home? Skunks need to be treated gingerly with no aggression whatsoever towards them. Even the most gentle of skunks may bite if handled in the wrong manner. Skunks have very sharp fangs that can penetrate skin very easily. This can be very painful to children as well as to adults. If small children are in the household, I would recommend waiting until they are old enough to grasp proper handling methods.
Do you have other pets in your home that would be sharing space with your skunk? We have seen many instances where skunks get along great with other household pets but there are instances where lives were lost quickly, either on purpose or by complete accident. Please be prepared, that if necessary, to keep animals completely separated.
If you or someone else were to be bitten by your skunk, are you, and them, prepared to handle the consequences? As stated before, when owning a skunk, there is a possibility of being bitten. If a skunk bite were to be reported, it is required by the doctor to notify authorities that a skunk bite has taken place. From that point, the skunk may be seized to be checked for rabies. Of course we know that our skunks don't have rabies, but that is of little or no consequence. In testing for rabies, the skunks head is removed. As you can imagine, chances are never taken when allowing someone to handle or even pet a skunk without extreme care being taken. Being nipped or bitten is nothing new to those who own skunks. This is not meant to scare you but rather to make sure there is an awareness of what can happen. We know of skunks that have never bitten and of others that have bitten with little cause. Much depends on their care and handling methods.
Do you have a veterinarian in your area that is willing to care for your skunk? It's possible that finding a vet to even see your skunk could take lots of time going through the phone book. It's best to have one that is familiar with skunks and to be willing to correspond with other qualified vets. Skunk metabolisms can differ from other pets that they are accustomed to dealing with.
Financially speaking, are you prepared to handle a skunk? Outside of the normal costs of food, proper bedding, litter, and other necessities are the vet bills. A typical checkup, which includes blood work could cost between $80 and $150. Depending on your skunk, checkups will need to be done once or twice a year. Other instances may arise throughout your skunk's life in which other medical attention may be required and there are instances where the bills have reached $1000 or more. Travel may also be required to go to a vet for a medical solution which can't be handled by your own vet. In some instances vets will take payments, so you may want to present that question should it become necessary. Of course, we all hope for long and healthy lives for our skunks but want to be prepared.
Do you have ample time to care for a skunk? Skunks require lots of time and patience. They can be taught to follow a daily routine with sleeping and feeding schedules. Skunks require time and attention to mold and keep their personalities friendly and loving. A skunk left confined and not receiving proper attention on a daily basis can become difficult to handle. This could even cause aggressive behavior on their parts. Skunks need exercise to stay healthy and it's recommended that they are awake for a minimum of five hours each day but of course it's great to have them even more active. An inactive skunk can become overweight and extra weight can bring on a variety of health problems. Household routines may need to be adjusted and it's important that their time with you to never go lacking. The amount of quality time you spend will reflect greatly with your skunk's personality.
Do you have enough space available for a skunk? A skunk confined to a small area can become quite restless or just have a tendency to want to sleep all day. They need room to roam to keep the mind active and to receive proper exercise. Confining a skunk to a cage or a small pen for extended periods can cause aggressive behavior. They need and desire to be out exploring and to have the warm feeling of being a part of a family. It's recommended that you open up as much of your home as possible to them. Now, with opening up your home, we have numerous things that may need attention. We call it skunk proofing. Please remember, if it can be reached, your skunk will eventually reach it. As with small children, some things may need to be put out of reach. Skunks can climb somewhat. Many can manage to climb onto couches, chairs, beds, over baby gates, and occasionally have been known to make it onto kitchen tables. Skunks can also be small enough to hide in places that you would never expect to find them. You'll need to make sure that they can't get behind washers and dryers, refrigerators, and any other place that it could be difficult to retrieve them. They also are excellent at opening cabinets so special latches may need to be installed. There are even stories of skunks being able to open refrigerator doors. Skunks need space to roam and it's a huge responsibility to keep them safe from things that could harm them.
Are you considering a baby skunk or a skunk that is older? All skunks require a lot of time and patience but as a first time skunk owner, it may be easier in training a baby or even an older skunk that has been properly cared for. In searching for your new skunk, you may hear the word "rescue". Some skunks become available year round due to a large variety of reasons. Some may have sweet dispositions and may easily adapt to you while others may take plenty of time, patience, and understanding. This decision you will have to make on your own, realizing the amount of time and patience involved in creating your little snuggle bunny skunkie.
Have you counted how many corners are in your home? Skunks do their dirty work in corners. They can be trained to use a litter box with proper training. Your skunk will definitely let you know which corners are preferred for litter boxes. One litter box won't be enough and it may take several spaced throughout your home to satisfy your skunk's needs. Be prepared in your attempt to change the mind of your skunk on the choice of corners. This is one battle you may or may not win. Eventually, you will come to a mutual understanding.
Are you willing to take the time to prepare special meals for your skunk? The most important thing in caring for a skunk is insuring that they receive a proper diet. Their diet consists mostly of a variety of vegetation and natural proteins. There are no shortcuts. They need to be fed precise amounts and types of food to keep them in good health. You'll quickly realize that your skunk is probably eating better than you do. The importance of a proper diet can never be stressed enough.
Let's suppose that you became unable to care for your skunk for a day, a week, or even a month. Do you have someone in mind that would care for your skunk during this time, realizing the time and patience required? In some cases, it's not as easy as it sounds to find a good skunk sitter and they need to know so much about caring for your little angel.
Are you prepared to reach out and grab all information that is available to properly care for your skunk? What you are reading here is only touching base on some of the topics involved with owning a skunk. We are striving daily to learn all aspects on how to help them live longer and more healthy lives. Please do plenty of research before bringing a skunk into your home and ask as many questions as possible of people who own skunks.
Please realize that this has been written to inform people interested in owning a skunk that much may be required of them. To anyone reading this that decides upon being owned by a skunk, we know how pleased you will be with your decision. To have a skunk fall asleep in your arms or even cuddle up next to you in bed makes it all worth everything we put into them. Lives, but more importantly, hearts are changed shortly after you have a skunk enter your life. This feeling can't be put into words. You'll see for yourself what is meant by these statements.
Please visit http://stripedbandits.proboards.com for more information on this as well as other important topics for the proper care of your domestic skunk.
Last updated: 12-11-2012