I've been an online writer for over 11 years. I've been interested in raising and caring for exotic pets for quite some time.
So long as you feed your skunk a healthy diet and keep them active, they can live up to ten years. However, like humans, they are susceptible to becoming obese along with all of the complications associated with having too much body fat. That's why it's important to know what you should and shouldn't feed your skunk.
If I was a skunk, I'd write about all of the foods I'd want to eat, but not much about the foods I'd need to eat. Pet skunks have the same problem of overeating, just as we do. Fortunately for the pet skunk, the owner is in control of the dietary choices; an overweight skunk risks dying an early death just like an overweight person.
Just like us, a skunk instinctively prefers high-calorie food that contains lots of fat and sugar. This is because, in the wild, you never know where your next meal is coming from, so you have to load up on as many calories as you can. But a pet skunk (much like the modern human) has lower energy requirements, and so it needs a varied diet in order to keep healthy and happy.
Pet skunks will eat just about anything. Since they are still relatively new in the pet world, how to best feed a skunk is still the subject of some debate and probably will be as long as people care about keeping skunks happy and healthy.
It used to be thought that skunks could live on dog or cat food, with the occasional people food table scraps as a treat. Although the skunk will like this "diet," it is far too full of fat and protein for a healthy diet. It would be like raising a child on a diet of only hamburgers, fried chicken, and water. They wouldn't be too healthy for too long.
Skunks need a mix of fruits, vegetable matter, carbohydrates, and protein like we do. And don't be taken in by those begging faces; skunks will eat even when they are full. (Sound like anyone you know?)
A basic morning meal for your adult pet skunk can consist of:
And their evening meal can be:
Kits (baby skunks) less than four months old need to eat four times a day (like puppies do). They only need about 3 tablespoons worth of food per meal. The food can be a combination of a third protein, a third carbohydrate, and a third vegetable. More skunk recipes can be found at Skunk Haven and at Owners Of Pet Skunks (OOPS).
These foods are bad for skunks (even though the skunks will eat them anyway!)
Yes, there are commercial skunk diets available, but they have to be specially ordered directly from the manufacturer. One of the most popular is from the Exotic Nutrition Pet Company's Skunk Diet, and they also make skunk nutritional supplements and a canned insect diet for any protein-craving exotic pet. It might be easier for you to make the skunk's meals yourself.
Whether or not you can have a pet skunk depends on your state and its regulations, so be sure to do your research. Since keeping skunks as pets is a relatively new phenomenon, you have to be careful when handling them. First, make sure you get a skunk from a skunk breeder—do not just pull one out of the wilderness. Second, make sure you get them spayed and neutered and descented, as this will make it much easier for you to keep one as a pet.
© 2007 RenaSherwood
Each pet has hunger, hygiene, fun, energy, love, and experience meters. Hunger, hygiene, and fun can be increased by running pls pet feed, pls pet wash, and pls pet play respectively.
Running pls pet feed once increases your pet's hunger bar by 33%, and your pet's love bar by 10%. This costs 10-500 coins, depending on what pet you own.
Running pls pet wash once increases your pet's hygiene bar by 33%, and your pet's love bar by 10%. This costs 40 coins, regardless of what pet you own.
Running pls pet play once presents you a minigame, similar to pls work . The minigame can be typing words backwards, unscrambling words, playing football, etc. This will cost you anywhere from 1-100 coins.
Running pls pet pat once can boost your love bar. This does not cost any coins.
Pets will gain a random amount of experience when interacted (being fed, washed, etc.), or anytime they find an item or prevent a robbery. After gaining 100 experience, your pet will level up, providing you one training point that you can spend to train your pet on a certain trait.
In addition, dog owners should check to see if the dog was sprayed in the face before bathing.
“Getting sprayed in the face usually does not cause many problems, but it can if enough skunk spray gets sprayed onto the pet,” Barr said. “It can cause significant irritation to the eyes, and in rare cases, severe anemia, and of course an offensive odor.”
If your dog was sprayed in the face, it is important to avoid getting the bathing mixture in their eyes, mouth, and nose.
It may be necessary to wash, rinse, and repeat several times until the smell is gone.
After watching Is That Skunk? viewers may wonder: do skunks really make good pets? In the case of wild skunks the answer is no. But domesticated skunks, which have been bred in captivity for over 60 years, are known to be quite docile and loving. Still, keeping a domesticated skunk happy and healthy is a lot of work, and so is acquiring a pet skunk in the first place. It is currently legal to own domesticated skunks in only 17 states: Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. In most states where it is legal to own a pet skunk there are additional rules and regulations, and some require a special permit.
The most notable difference between wild and domestic skunks is the lack of scent glands. Domesticated skunks are descented when they are between two and five weeks of age, and grow up “unarmed.” While a relatively simple procedure, there is some debate as to whether or not descenting skunks is humane. Some argue that a descented skunk has unfairly been stripped of its natural defenses.
If a pet skunk is let out of the house or escapes, it may be in grave danger. Skunks can travel several miles a day, and unless found, a lost pet skunk is in trouble. Unlike cats and dogs, domesticated skunks lack homing instincts to find their way back. In addition, only skunks born in the wild learn the skills necessary to forage and hunt. Finally, without scent glands, domesticated skunks have no way to protect themselves from predators. Still, their biggest threat is the same as that facing wild skunks — cars. Motor vehicles are responsible for more skunk deaths each year than any other factor including disease, persecution by humans, and the rabies virus.
Though the myth persists that wild skunks have a disproportionately high rate of carrying rabies, unvaccinated domestic cats and dogs can contract the virus much more easily than skunks for the simple reason that most creatures, including rabid animals, avoid skunks and their stinky spray. Most of the laws prohibiting skunk ownership were put in place because of the fear that skunks are prone to rabies.
Skunks can be demanding eaters. Their natural diet is quite eclectic. Wild skunks eat anything from insects and snakes to fruits and veggies. Some skunks also have a taste for garbage. A pet skunk’s diet should include lean protein (chicken or fish), vegetables, some fruits, and cooked grains—all fresh. Skunks have trouble digesting processed foods.
In the wild, skunks are crepuscular, meaning they are most active during dawn and dusk. Pet skunks can be trained to sleep during the night and be active during the day. When not sleeping, skunks need lots of love and attention. They are very playful, and require lots of stimulation. If left alone all day, they can get mischievous and even destructive. All skunks have long claws used for digging up worms, insects, and grubs. When raised in a house, pet skunks put their claws to use opening doors, cabinets, drawers, and even refrigerators. The house must be “skunk-proofed,” limiting access to the curious creatures. Pet skunks are also known to steal blankets, towels, sweaters, and other soft items that they bring to their sleeping den.
As seen in Is That Skunk? some skunk owners simply cannot take care of their pet and end up abandoning it. Domesticated skunks are unique and sometimes rewarding pets, but they require a lot of specialized care. As with any pet, prospective skunk owners should think long and hard about whether or not they have the time and the resources to properly care for a skunk before purchasing or adopting one.
In the wild, skunks eat pretty much anything, and their diets even change seasonally. They are omnivores and cannot eat much processed food. A low-fat diet is also important because of the high risk for obesity in skunks. There are a few pre-packaged, formulated diets available for skunks but usually, they are only available online. Exotic Nutrition is one website that offers a poultry-based pellet that is meant to be complemented with fruits and vegetables. Quite the extensive list of zoos and universities use this diet.
Fresh, cooked or thawed frozen vegetables and occasional fruits, cooked poultry like chicken, and healthy foods made with grains, such as cereal, should all be fed. Nuts, cooked grains, a few pieces of dog food, and yogurt should also be mixed into the diet. Foods high in calcium and taurine supplementation should not be forgotten as well. Young kits should be fed several times a day, while adult skunks can be fed in the morning and evening.
There is much to learn about the care of pet skunks but as more and more people keep them in their homes our knowledge base will continue to grow.