Finding a Pet Skunk
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If you have decided a pet skunk would be a good fit as a pet, the trickiest part may actually be finding a skunk. While sites featuring skunk breeders are few and far between on the internet, it is still possible to use the internet as a tool for finding a pet skunk.
You should first check the legality of skunks in your area before going to the trouble of locating a breeder. Be sure you can find a vet that will vaccinate your skunk and treat it if it becomes ill. Acquiring a skunk if they are illegal in your area can lead to serious consequences, and even if it is just for vaccinations, your skunk will need veterinary care, and you will be stuck if you can’t find anyone to treat your pet when needed.
You might also want to consider taking in a homeless skunk from a shelter or rescue. Sometimes you might have to work a little harder to gain the trust of a skunk that ends up at a rescue due to neglect, but giving such a skunk a second chance at a happy home is a wonderful gift to the skunk.
Perhaps the best way to find a skunk for adoption through a rescue association or a skunk breeder is to network with other skunk owners and ask for their recommendations. There are several email lists/groups that make this possible online. The Owners of Pet Skunks site maintains a list of such groups and would be a good place to begin the search.
Watch Now: What to Know Before Adopting a Pet Skunk
Skunk breeders can sometimes be found locally, although you may need to go a little farther away to find a good reputable breeder of pet skunks. You can check your local paper or even an agriculture-based newspaper in your area. Occasionally, depending on where you live, skunks can be found in pet stores. A breeder who breeds skunks as pets is the best choice, as long as the skunks are raised under good conditions and socialized well as kits. In many cases, the selling of skunks for pets is just a sideline for fur farms. This may be your only option, and you simply need to be educated and aware and evaluate any breeder or pet store by several criteria.
When looking for a breeder, some patience is required. Skunks are seasonal breeders, and kits are usually only available in June or July. Many breeders have a waiting list and you may need to contact them a year or more ahead of time to get a kit.
When you are choosing a breeder, the best option is to visit the breeder in person, as this is the best way to get a sense of how the breeder raises their animals. The skunks should be kept in clean conditions, which you should be able to assess by observation and odor. Do not be concerned if you are not allowed to see the breeding animals, as many conscientious breeders will not allow visitors access to breeding animals. Ask to see the breeder’s documentation (licensing, inspection reports). Ask if there have been any disease outbreaks, especially distemper.
How to Choose Your Skunk
Once you are satisfied with the facilities, carefully observe some skunks. They should be bright, alert, and curious, with a full shiny coat. They should be in good body condition, neither thin nor obese. They should be curious about visitors but not overly agitated. They should also have clean eyes, ears, nose and rear end, and no signs of lameness or other problems. Try to handle some kits to see how they interact with you.
The best sign of a good breeder is one who is sure they are selling you a pet for which you are prepared. While you may feel you are being grilled, a breeder that asks potential owners lots of questions is one who is concerned that their animals are going to good homes. If a breeder can’t answer all your questions about what skunks are like and how to care for them properly, be wary. Research care well in advance so you can tell if a breeder is giving sound advice or not.
If you are some distance from a breeder, they may be willing to ship a kit to you. This is the least desirable option since shipping can be stressful.
If you are looking for a skunk, be prepared and most importantly be patient so you can be sure you are getting the pet that is perfect for you.
If you want a pet skunk, the trickiest part will be finding one. Learn how to find a pet skunk breeder.
Basic Skunk Care
Many people who are curious or are looking for an exotic pet think that skunks may be the pet to choose. Skunks can be friendly, cuddly, trouble free pets; they can also be exasperating, costly, terrors.
A skunk can be a costly pet, especially the first year. Skunk kits cost between $150 and $500, and spay or neuter can cost up to $250. Add to that the costs for food, cage(s), litter boxes, bed(s), toys, daily diet supplements, and other costs.
Verify that it is legal to own a pet skunk where you live. Many states have restrictions or special requirements, some cities also restrict keeping pet skunks inside the city limits. Don’t buy a skunk without first checking your state and local wildlife and health regulations. Information on legal states is available on our L egal States page and at Aspen Skunk Rabies Research, Inc. Most states that do allow owning a pet skunk require maintaining state wildlife permits.
Make sure you have a vet willing to take care of a skunk before you get one, many vets will not care for skunks. In addition, ask the question, “What would you do if my skunk bites you or someone on your staff?” Skunks have paid the ultimate price for biting.
THERE ARE NO APPROVED RABIES VACCINES LABELED FOR SKUNKS FOR VETERIANARIAN USE.
Some vets will suggest you give the skunk rabies shots, but this does NOT prevent the state health department from taking your skunk if it bites someone. If the bite is reported, the skunk will normally be destroyed, so DO NOT let people PET your skunk. If you do, ALWAYS hold the head and let people touch the BACK only.
Vaccines for distemper you can use DHPP Vanguard Plus by Zoetis. This is called Off-Label use of the vaccine due to Skunks are not listed on the label.
Do NOT over vaccinate your skunk! Warning: some skunks have adverse reactions to vaccines. Some have die, change personality’s and other reactions.
DO NOT VACCINATE IF YOUR SKUNK IS SICK.
Know what you are giving to your skunk! Many people do NOT vaccinate any more. Galaxy D, DA2PPv , or DA2PPvL+CV (for dogs) or Eclipse 4 (for cats). Off-label use of these vaccines, although not officially approved, is assumed to provide some protection against distemper and parvo. Other vaccines ( Fer-Vac , Fel-O-Vax , Duramune , Vanguard , and others) have been known to cause adverse reactions in skunks or cause other problems requiring veterinary care. We recommend giving shots every two years, do not over vaccinate your skunk!
THERE ARE NO APPROVED RABIES VACCINES FOR SKUNKS. Some vets will suggest you give the skunk rabies shots, but this does NOT prevent the health department from taking your skunk if it bites someone. Do NOT let people pet your skunk on the face, head, neck, paws, or tail. ALWAYS hold the skunk’s head and let people touch the BACK only.
It is very important that you have your skunk neutered. This should be done between 4 to 6 months of age depending on weight and health. Failure to do so can cause behavior problems, can be extremely stressful, and can cause health problems for the skunk.
|Male Neuter – One Day After||Female Spay – One Day After|
If not spayed some females can go into a constant heat, they may pee or leave puddles on the floor. If a male skunk is not netured he may start dribbling pee on the floor. Some skunks may be agressive. Skunks CAN go into heat as early as nine months of age.
Vets should use isoflurane gas when doing surgery on your skunk. Surgical glue has performed well to secure wounds an prevents unnecessary scratching and infection.
Skunks can climb, especially young skunks. Fractures and internal injuries can easily occur if the skunk falls. Don’t think that you can leave food out on the table or counter if there is any chance that your skunk can get to it. Skunks have pushed chairs, moved boxes, climbed up the box to the chair to the table and been found happily sitting on the table munching on snacks left out. They are especially good at wedging themselves in a tight space to climb up several feet to somewhere they want to be.
Do not use Lysol , Carpet Fresh , Fabreze , or plug in air freshener. Be careful with household cleaners! Many of these items can be toxic to any small animal.
Prepare foods daily. A skunk’s digestive system can not properly digest most processed foods.
A balanced variety of f oods is best, vegetables, cooked grains, small portions of chicken or turkey, and small amounts of fruit.
Make sure your skunk eats regularly. Never let a skunk go a day without eating. Try favorite foods, meat, fruit, yogurt. If your skunk won’t eat, force feed pureed foods if necessary.
Skunks need extra taurine and calcium. Try to use foods that provide calcium as well as other vitamins and minerals.
Get your skunk’s blood work done. The minimum test is called Complete Blood Count and Serum C h emistry Profile. You can use that as a base-line to go by with your skunk, your vet should check the results and make necessary recommendations. A routine X-ray in later years is a good idea too.
Skunks should be wormed with a safe w ormer like Evict , Nemex2 , Panacur , or one you may get from your vet. Make sure you worm your skunk.
Note: Wormers containing piperazine (piperazine citrate) have caused tremors, seizures, vomiting, and have been indicated as factors in several deaths, in skunks. Erliworm is a common brand of pet wormer containing piperazine.
|Roundworm being expelled|
Nails should be cut about every month, some skunks require trimming more often. Use large nail clippers or nail trimmers for dogs and cats, be careful not to cut the quick, have flour or styptic powder ready.
|Nails Much Too Long||Cutting Nails||Properly Cut Nails|
The pads of your skunk’s paws may get cracked or scaly (especially during dry periods) and may need extra care. We use Udderly S MOO th cream or Bag Balm ointment to help soften and heal the pads.
NEVER leave your skunk outside unattended. They have no homing instincts like dogs or cats and will wander away, it is rare that they come back before something bad happens. With no scent glands to protect themselves, they are very vulnerable to predators.
Health problems include rectal prolapse, seizures, diabetes, liver disease, kidney failure, heart problems, calcium deficiency, excessive weight, allergies, general mal-nutrition, etc. With proper care most of these can be corrected BEFORE the problem starts.
AFTER READING ALL OF THIS ARE YOU READY TO HAVE A PET SKUNK IN YOUR HOME? THINK LONG AND HARD BEFORE YOU GET ONE.
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Thinking of getting a pet skunk? Be prepared before you buy a skunk. Pet skunk care and training. Tips on skunk diet, veterinarian care, skunk neuter, skunk spay, bathing a skunk, cutting skunks nails.