Categories
BLOG

descent skunk

Skunk: Species Profile

Characteristics, Housing, Diet, and Other Information

  • Pin
  • Share
  • Email

When born and raised in captivity, skunks can make for friendly, intelligent, and unique pets. They can learn to be comfortable when handled by people, and they can be quite playful and cuddly. Native to North America, skunks are known for their scent glands that can spray foul-smelling chemicals at predators. But captive-bred skunks typically have those glands surgically removed. This is a controversial procedure, as some people believe it strips away a necessary defense mechanism that a pet skunk would need should it ever get loose outside or otherwise be attacked. This is why it’s critical to keep a pet skunk indoors or highly supervised during any outdoor time.

Housing a pet skunk can be somewhat difficult, as skunks tend to be curious animals that like to get into mischief. Plus, it can be complicated to feed a pet skunk a balanced diet, as there are few formulated skunk foods available. Overall, these animals require a lot of time and expertise on your part to care for them properly.

Species Overview

Common Name: Skunk

Scientific Name: Mephitis mephitis

Adult Size: 15 to 35 inches long, weighing up to 18 pounds

Life Expectancy: 6 to 10 years in captivity

Skunk Behavior and Temperament

Skunks are not low-maintenance pets. In addition to feeding and cleaning up after your skunk, expect to spend several hours per day keeping it entertained. Some of a skunk’s personality traits, such as being stubborn and headstrong, can make it a challenge to live with. Fortunately, pet skunks also tend to be sociable and playful when they grow up interacting with people. They are active and curious, which means they will get into everything in your home. They can learn to open cabinets, drawers, and even the refrigerator. And if certain items, such as towels, blankets, and clothing, go missing, your skunk might have stolen them to make its bed softer.

In the wild, skunks are most active at dawn and dusk. But a pet skunk can learn to be on its human’s schedule. These animals need lots of stimulation, and many enjoy playing with dog or cat toys. They’re also natural diggers and might dig into a carpet or scratch furniture if they don’t have enough toys of their own. As social animals, they generally enjoy being handled by and playing with their human family members. And they can even learn to get along with other friendly pets in the house, such as a ferret or even a gentle cat or dog.

Skunks do make a variety of vocalizations to express their emotions, including hisses, chirps, and whines. But in general they’re quiet animals. They’re also not prone to aggression when properly socialized, but they will bite if they feel threatened. This can have serious consequences, as no rabies vaccine is approved for skunks. So if your pet skunk bites a person or another animal, authorities might seize it to monitor for rabies symptoms. Some pet skunks have even been euthanized after biting.

Pet skunks are active, intelligent, and affectionate but can be a handful. Learn how to care for these animals, including housing, feeding, and more.

An alternate method of descenting skunks

Affiliation

  • 1 Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843.
  • PMID: 3682105
  • DOI: 10.7589/0090-3558-23.4.713

An alternate method of descenting skunks

  • Search in PubMed
  • Search in NLM Catalog
  • Add to Search

Author

Affiliation

  • 1 Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843.
  • PMID: 3682105
  • DOI: 10.7589/0090-3558-23.4.713

Abstract

Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) scent glands were ligated closed with waxed dental floss to allow them to be handled during toxicological studies without fear of scenting. This descenting technique was more rapid and less traumatic than scent gland removal. Thirty-four skunks were kept for less than or equal to 127 days and did not display behavioral or physical abnormalities due to this procedure.

Striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis) scent glands were ligated closed with waxed dental floss to allow them to be handled during toxicological studies without fear of scenting. This descenting technique was more rapid and less traumatic than scent gland removal. Thirty-four skunks were kept for less th … ]]>