The Skunk

Scienfic Name:- Mephitis mephitis

The striped skunk is a member of the mustelidae family and is an active and intelligent creature.   They were originally bred for their fur but make good housepets.   Pet Skunks come in a variety of colours such as Chocolate and white,   Cinnamon,   all black or albino.

Skunks are usually born in April and will need to be neutered at 4-6months of age to prevent health and behaviour problems as they mature.   Like baby ferrets they are prone to biting when small and should be trained out of this behaviour by telling them ''NO'' and time out in a separate cage to their night enclosure.

An adult Skunk should weigh 2.5-5.5kg and can vary as much as 1kg according to the season.   Their most notorious feature is their anal scent glands which they can use as a defensive weapon.   Under the Animal Welfare Act,   it is now illegal to descent skunks in the UK and is considered unethical.

Habitat :- They can be kept indoors and can be free roaming provided they are supervised.   The home should be skunk proofed as they are mischievous and will explore hidden areas such as behind the fridge or cooker,   under cupboards and will dig up carpets.   They like to pass faeces in the corner of a room and if a litter tray is placed there they will often use that.   Then if the corner they have chosen is inconvenient moving the litter tray a little each day to a more convenient location is possible.

Diet :- Skunks are ominvores and in the wild would take meat,   fruit,   insects and roots.   In captivity it is possible to feed a commercial raw dog food supplemented with Calcium and vitamins especially Taurine.   Cat food tends to be too high in protein and fat.   In addition to this they will take dairy products such as cheese and yogurt and can be supplemented with Flax or Virgin Olive oils to enhance the coat.

Like many exotic species,   Skunks are prone to disease if not cared for properly.   Obesity through incorrect feeding or metabolic bone disease (lack of Calcium and Vitamin D3) are common.

Life expectancy :- 7-10 years.