Life & Travel > Pet pack life > Do Skunks Really Make Good Pets?

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01/05/2012 18:34:19 PM by K.T.Riffic   Send Message to K.T.Riffic  1286  views, category: Pet pack life view all blogs


Can a skunk really make a good pet? The short answer is yes, they can make really great pets for certain people. However, not everyone is a skunk person. Having a skunk can be a rewarding and unique experience, but it comes with its own set of problems as well.

Some Basics
Skunks are more similar to cats than any other pet from the way their bodies are built to their temperament. Of course, there are some major differences. At the top of the list is their lack of a homing instinct. This means if your skunk gets out, it will get lost and not be able to find its way home. Not only is this not good for the owner, but it is also very dangerous for the skunk.

Between the ages of 2 and 4 weeks, the scent gland of the skunk, the one that makes the well known scent, is removed. Without this defense, a lost skunk is much more likely to become a victim to prey. This practice is still a topic of debate. England, for example, has outlawed this practice since 2007, causing the option of a skunk as a pet to be drastically reduced.

On the up side, baby skunks are just the opposite of baby cats and most puppies in that they enjoy being held and babied. In fact, the more you cuddle and handle a baby skunk, the more lovable and cuddly it will be as an adult.

Don’t all skunks have rabies?
This myth is just that, a myth. Skunks are no more likely to get rabies than any other animal. Not all skunks can be pets. The ones that are kept as pets have been domesticated. Much like cat and dog breeders, there are skunk breeders that keep and raise skunks. These skunks are not born in the wild and therefore will only get rabies if it is bitten by a rabid animal. Make sure all pets are kept up to date on their rabies vaccinations.

What about the stink?
The gland that produces the characteristic scent in skunks is removed while the pet is very young, usually around 4 weeks old. This is similar to tail docking in some dog breeds or spaying or neutering pets. It is not harmful as long as the skunk is kept at home and not able to get loose.

What are skunk’s temperaments like?
Skunks are extremely curious creatures and will get into anything they can. They have been known to open cupboards and refrigerators as well as dig up carpet to try to find the source of a smell. Skunks need lots of stimulation and attention.

Is a skunk right for me?
Currently, only 17 states allow skunks to be kept as pets. The states include: Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. If you live in one of these states and have the energy and motivation to look after these curious creatures, a skunk may be right for you.


About the author: Kayleigh has always loved animals and has spent time volunteering at the local dog shelter. The love of her life is her four year old Rottweiler, Lizzie. She enjoys writing for since it combines her love of animals with one of her favor... more >>

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