1. You must first realize that a skunk is a wild animal; they are not often domesticated. Being a wild animal, they must be treated with respect. Don’t expect them to behave like a cat or a dog. They do no depend on you like their counterparts, instead they are instinctively independent.
2. A wild animal license is required and must be obtained prior to looking to purchasing your new pet. It takes a few months once you send it in – and you must have it legally to own a skunk in most states. Check with your local wildlife office so you can know the laws and requirements in your area.You must understand that your patience is expected and tested at every moment. Due to rabies outbreaks, pet skunks are not allowed to go outdoors at any time. If they escape, the state is to be notified immediately. A spare bedroom with a tiled floor can be a good habitat for your skunk, however a cage built to certain specifications is required for obtaining a license.
3. When looking for a pet skunk only buy from a pet shop that requires you to have a wild animal handling license. Any other shop will probably have no idea of the care required for a pet skunk and have most likely left the skunk in a small cage with little human contact. There are reputable breeders out there with babies kept close to humans and most offer to ship your pet to you. Colors range from Albino, to black-and-white, chocolate and white, silver-blue and white and more. If you are a little more patient and have lots of extra time on your hands then a skunk-refuge might be the best place for you to find your new pet. The springtime is when most babies are born and they are bought up fast because they are small and cute. Most people do not realize the care required to keep a skunk as a pet, and the patience and discipline required and normally end up getting rid of their skunk by letting it go into the wild, selling it, or giving it to a wild animal refuge.
4. These are very intelligent animals and should only be owned by individuals capable of keeping them caged or in closed quarters and unable to escape. Because these animals are quite intelligent, care should be taken to never kick, slap, swat, or flick your new pet. He will remember this, and he will get revenge when you least expect it. Even scooting him away from a bedroom or refrigerator door with your foot could end up having your skunk cashing you around biting at your pants or feet. This is very bad, and even scary, when a child is involved.
5. When frightened or startled a skunk will stomp it’s front feet on the ground – sometimes hard enough for their back feet to lift off the ground and they end up doing a handstand. They will also lift their tails and turn around to point their “business” end at you even after they have been descented. Sometimes you will smell a foul odor coming from your little guy if he is upset; that is him trying to spray. A skunk will also urinate when surprised or picked up all the sudden.
6. These main defense tactics normally are enough to send any foe fleeing before they get a nasty shower, but if faced with an aggressor a skunk will not hesitate to bite. He make look cute and cuddly but they are instinctively vicious animals closely related to the Wolverine or Badger. Their teeth are worse than their claws; extremely long and sharp and capable of inflicting a serious wound. A skunk is extremely fast and strikes suddenly like a snake. A skunk bite can get infected very easily so dress it properly if you are bitten. Never let anyone but you or a member of your family hold or pet your skunk. If someone is bitten and go to the authorities your new pet will be seized and probably euthanized (put to death) to test for rabies. Make sure you always have proper documentation of the shots your skunk receives so that you can prove their rabies shot is up to date.
7. Feeding: Steer clear of junk food because it can become very addicting to your pet and he may decide not to eat anything else. A skunk must have proper nutrition when kept in captivity. He must be fed a balanced mixture of vegetables, fruits and grains and sometimes cat food. You can buy pre-made mixtures at your local pet store (if they even carry it) but it can be expensive. The best method is to buy a large family pack of frozen vegetables and microwave about 1 cup full per skunk for each feeding. A half a handful of cat food can be added to the veggies if you’d like. It will make your skunk fat so don’t feed him too much of this, or any protein. To get a new skunk acquainted with you, an offering of peanut butter on a spoon can be given. Your skunk will get used to you being the source of the food an no longer a source of any threat. When feeding or giving a snack, be very careful around your skunk; never let it lick your fingers. Always wash your hands thoroughly before attempting to handle your pet or you could mistakenly be given a nasty bite. A cheese puff and your finger look similar to a skunk’s eye.
8. Your skunk should be bathed every week, or at least every other week; he sweats just like any other animal plus he has those “stink” glands that will still give off an odor even after being descented. Claws need to be cut routinely about once a month or they will become overgrown and cause problems in walking, or can break too far down and cause excessive bleeding and possibly an infection. The best way to trim claws is by wrapping a towel around your arm, or taping it, and holding your skunk. With your other hand, you easily can trim the exposed nails as they clutch to the towel.
9. Finding a veterinarian that will see a skunk is not as easy as you’d think; they are considered a wild animal and most vets won’t attempt to treat them let alone perform any kind of surgery. You must have a vet in mind that agrees to treat skunks before you are allowed a license. At about 6 months of age you will begin to notice that your skunk has become temper-mental; this is because he or she has reached their sexual maturity and their hormone levels are raging. They are like a teenager at this point. Having them spayed or neutered effectively curbs this aggressive attitude. The cost of spaying or neutering for a wild animal, like your skunk, is about twice the cost of a dog or a cat. After the procedure your skunk may have a “prolapse” which means that his intestines are hanging outside of his body. Do not panic. If you see your skunk trying to chew or bite on the prolapse do not let him. A compress made from a warm wet towel will help when applied with a little pressure, but not too much. If things do not return to normal after three to four hours you should call a vet and bring your pet in. They will give the skunk a “purse string suture” which draws the muscles in the sphincter together tight so that a prolapse cannot occur. This is a simple procedure and can even be done while you wait. The doctor will try to put a plastic cone around your skunk’s neck to prevent biting or chewing at the suture, but a mad skunk is a mini powerhouse. No doubt the cone will be removed within an hour. Keep your pet in a confined place until he is no longer stressed out or afraid.
10. A skunk should be introduced to any other pets gradually. By nature, these animals are aggressive to other predators; they have to be to survive. After time a mutual friendship could occur. You should never leave a pet skunk unobserved with any of your other pets. Skunks have been known to kill cats or small dogs in a household if left unsupervised and provoked.