De-worming your adult skunk properly is a very important part of skunk ownership that is often done improperly or not at all. All skunk kits come with roundworms that need to be removed before they build to a dangerous level. Read about de-worming a kit here. If you have had your skunk since it was a kit and already followed the initial 3 de-wormings, then you should be able to de-worm twice a year. If you have not already done so, start with the recommendations for de-worming a kit first. The recommended de-worming medications for skunks are Strongid (Pyrantel Pomoate) for kits and adults up to 4 lbs, and Panacur (Fenbendazole) for skunks 4 lbs and up. Panacur is a better choice because it kills more types of parasites than Strongid. Panacur comes in liquid form, Panacur Suspension 10%, or granules called Panacur C. If you are using the liquid Panacur, it is dosed at 25 mg per pound, or 50 mg per kilogram given daily for 3 consecutive days. There are cases where Veterinarians have given Panacur for up to 5 consecutive days. If you choose the granule form of Panacur, skunks 4 lbs to 10 lbs will get Panacur C, 1 gram, for 3 days in a row, wait exactly 2 weeks and repeat for 3 more days. Wait 6 months and give for 3 days, wait exactly 2 weeks and repeat for 3 more days. Each box contains 3 packs so you will be able to give it […]
We have a new topic category featuring your skunk. This is where you tell your skunk’s personal story. The topic is open to past or present skunks. What did you learn from them that would help others? Share with other skunk owners, the good and the bad.
All baby skunks come with roundworms! Some will come with coccidia (small single cell parasites). Please do not assume that if your skunk has parasites, that you will always see them in the skunk’s stool. That can be a fatal mistake. Parasites, also do not always show up when tested. One of the leading causes of death for young skunks is from parasitic infestation. They can build up causing prolapses, seizures and death. It is important that your Veterinarian dose the de-wormer until the skunk gets to be at least 4 pounds. Be aware that the wrong de-wormer can kill a skunk! Strongid (Pyrantel Pomoate) is recommended until the skunk reaches 4 lbs, then Panacur (Fenbendazole) is recommended as it kills more types of parasites. You will need to de-worm your new baby at least 3 times, several weeks apart like you would a puppy so make sure to get enough medicine from your Veterinarian. After that, you should be able to de-worm twice a year. If there are other household pets, you might want to do everyone together. Once you switch to twice a year, the de-worming cycle is as follows: skunks between 4 and 10 pounds will get Panacur for 3 days in a row, wait exactly 2 weeks and repeat for 3 more days. Wait 6 months and give for 3 days, wait exactly 2 weeks and repeat for 3 more days. If you prefer the liquid Panacur, you can get that from your Veterinarian along with […]
On 9/28/16, a 4 month old pet skunk was euthanized in Tampa, Fl and tested for rabies because she had bitten a Veterinary Technician. This is every skunk owner’s greatest fear and the reason why it is so important to choose the right Veterinarian. The owner had two young skunks that were housed in a skunk proofed room and Stompy had crawled under a piece of furniture to sleep. The owner found her the next day weak and dehydrated. Stompy’s regular Veterinarian was not available that day, but she recommended the owner take her baby skunk to Blue Pearl Animal Hospital in Tampa, FL. Blue Pearl also has branches in Brandon, Sarasota, and Clearwater. On their website, it shows they see Avian and Exotics, so it would seem a safe place to take a pet skunk. The Veterinarian who saw the skunk, is listed on the website as emergency care, not exotic care. It is unknown whether this Veterinarian has any experience in caring for pet skunks, and exactly what happened is not known because they took the skunk out of sight of the owner to treat. The owner was notified later that Stompy had bitten the Technician and that they were going to euthanize her so she could be tested for rabies. The owner informed the Veterinarian that the skunk was up to date on all vaccinations, including rabies. How does this even happen in the 21 century? Someone takes their sick pet for help and the animal is […]
The first year mortality rate is high with pet skunks, and I dread hearing about the kits that don’t make it. This morning I opened my email to discover a sad letter from someone I know, letting me know she lost her skunk kit sometime the night before. This owner has experience with skunks, other captive wildlife, and domestic pets and she is known to take excellent care of them. I called to find out the details of what happened and she has allowed me to share them in the hope of preventing another death. The owner got her baby at approximately 6 weeks old and has had him for about 5 weeks. He was slightly larger than the palm of a large hand and he weighed about 2 lbs. She recently purchased a new refrigerator that has a bottom mount freezer. The owner was unaware that this particular model has a gap on both sides when you open the bottom drawer of the freezer or she would have chosen a different style. This gap was large enough that a small animal could get inside the freezer on side that was not against the kitchen wall. The owner had company, a family member, staying with her. Sometime during the night, the family member took something out of the freezer, and put it in the refrigerator to defrost. The family member, is not used to captive wildlife, and was not aware that the little baby had climbed inside the freezer while […]
What is Inflammation? Inflammation is a condition caused by the swelling of any part of the body. Areas commonly affected in pet skunks are the limbs, joints, discs, and internal organs. Inflammation of the skin may occur if the skunk has an allergic reaction, has been bitten, or is injured. So what comes first, inflammation or the inflammatory condition? Inflammation can be a healthy body’s way of responding to an injury or illness. Inflammation occurs when the immune system has identified a problem and is attempting to correct it by sending in special cells that speed healing. For instance, if your skunk is injured, pain or swelling are actually signs that his immune system is working properly to heal the affected body part. A healthy skunk’s body should be able to correctly regulate the intensity of it’s response to the problem. Sometimes the body is not in optimal health and the immune system over reacts to the problem by not pulling back when the crisis is over. Healthy tissue may be affected by the body’s aggressive defense, possibly causing more damage than the original health issue. An example of this would be a skunk with a herniated disc. Immediately after the disc ruptures, the body starts trying to repair the damage. There is a crucial point where the repair work needs to end. If the body does not shut down the repair work at the correct time, the continued attempts can result in calcium deposits which may possibly fuse the […]
Recently another skunk owner forwarded me a packet of pet skunk information written by a Veterinarian regarding the care of pet skunks. She was given the packet when she brought two of her skunks for their annuals. At first, I thought it can’t be bad as I know the Veterinarian who wrote it. Then I read it and realized it must have been written prior to her becoming experienced with skunks. I searched for a date to verify that but there was none. Some of the things mentioned as ok are actually health or safety issues. For instance, if you use litter for your skunk, make sure you do NOT use pine or clumping clay litters. Yesterday news is a better choice for skunks as they may ingest it. View product here. Puppy pads or the use of newspaper to line the litter boxes are easy and inexpensive. Another recommendation was to feed the skunk a small amount of dog food that would not bring them the recommended protein and fat percentages noted they needed. Interesting that the name brands of the foods are brands commonly sold by Veterinarians. There have been multiple recalls of those brands and they are known to contain grains (which skunks should not be fed) and GMOs (genetically modified organisms). What was the most frightening was the suggestion that the owner feed 2 to 3 grapes per day. Grapes and raisins are known to be fatal to skunks. It is well documented that they are […]
If you are new to the skunk world, you may not know just how important it is to choose your skunk’s Veterinarian carefully! A Veterinarian who sees mostly dogs and cats may not be comfortable with seeing captive wildlife and just because they agree to see the skunk, doesn’t mean they are experienced to do so. If you haven’t already done so, ask the breeder or the pet store for recommendations for Veterinarians who see skunks. If you know other pet skunk owners, check with them also. If there is a wildlife care center near you, they will know of Veterinarians that see captive wildlife. Once you get a few names, call and ask them any questions you may have. Some important questions to ask are located here. Ideally, your Veterinarian will be your partner in raising a healthy pet skunk that you will enjoy for many years. It is important to have a Veterinarian that you can turn to when your skunk needs medical attention and for routine procedures like spaying and neutering. You may not be aware that the wrong drug will kill a skunk quickly. All kits come with roundworms which needs to be addressed by a Veterinarian at this age to dose the correct medicine. The wrong de-wormer will also kill a skunk! Read more about de-worming your kit here. All pets deserve great Veterinarians! This is even more important for pet skunks who are not the best of patients most of the time. For pet […]
How exciting, the kits are in pet stores now! While personally, I think nothing is cuter than a baby skunk, every year some people make the mistake of getting a skunk kit before they do their research on how to care for them. This results in the kits being given up for adoption by fall. Please make sure you do your research first. Below are a few things to be aware of: 1) Find a skunk savvy Veterinarian. After you pick up your baby, they will need a get acquainted visit to start the de-worming process. In a few months, they will need to be neutered or spayed. Learn how to de-worm a kit here. 2) Determine whether you have sufficient funds to purchase and care for a pet skunk. They are an 8 to 10 year commitment if properly cared for. They will require regular Veterinarian visits and their care is more expensive that that of a dog or cat. 3) Determine whether your lifestyle is compatible. Do you own your own home? Landlords rarely allow captive wildlife. Can you give around the clock care for the first month? 4) Are you willing to skunk proof your home? For some people that means giving up carpeting and sometimes nicer furnishings unless the home is large enough where the skunk has it’s own area. 5) Do you have other pets that would be problematic? Not all skunks get along with other animals or even with other skunks. Skunks are predatory […]
The March 18, 2016 meeting for proposed changes to Oregon law regarding pet skunk ownership has passed. The final ruling will be announced at the June meeting scheduled for 6/9/16 and 6/10/16. After reviewing the document of proposed changes, it doesn’t appear there were any changes (strike throughs) in the parts that pertains to pet skunks. There were strike throughs in the portion about captive wolves. Oregon pet skunk owners were given a chance to comment on the proposed changes. Unfortunately, it does not appear that very many wrote in. This may be due to the short notice they were given. There were more comments from out of state skunk owners than from ones within the state which would not likely have much impact. The meeting agenda can be reviewed here. Roll down to Exhibit H: PROTECTED WILDLIFE, HOLDING, AND PROPAGATING RULES. There are 9 pdf attachments on the right side where interested parties may review the testimonies and public correspondence associated with this meeting. Below are the current proposed changes regarding pet skunks. Stay tuned for the results from the June meeting! 635-044-0020 Holding of Live Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Cougar (Puma concolor), Bobcat (Lynx rufus), Wolf (Canis lupus), Raccoon (Procyon lotor) and Skunk (Mephitis spp.) (1) Black bear, cougar, bobcat, wolves, raccoon and skunk held in captivity require a Wildlife or Wolf Holding Permit for each species held. (2) Black bears, cougars, bobcats, wolves, raccoons and skunks acquired by transfer or new holding application, and following adoption of […]
Obesity is still the number one challenge mentioned in speaking with Veterinarians who see pet skunks. So today I would like to take a few minutes to discuss portion sizes for some of the most common foods fed to pet skunks. An obese skunk will not live a long, healthy life and will likely suffer from one or more painful health conditions. Read more about obesity in pet skunks here. As mentioned previously, skunks in the wild need small portions of nutrient dense foods. Pet skunks need the same, from foods that are nutritionally similar to what their wild cousins would be getting. I often get calls from concerned owners who know their skunk is too heavy, but don’t understand why. Skunks in the wild do not have access to processed foods or very many simple carbohydrates other than wild berries, limited fruit and their favorite, wild honey. Their diet is primarily insects and insect larvae supplemented with eggs from ground laying birds and left overs from larger predators. Skunks have been kept as pets for a while, but there has not been enough time pass for evolutionary changes in diet from their ancestral diet. This means they have not evolved into an animal that can burn carbohydrates as fuel like humans do. When skunks are fed a diet high in carbohydrates, their body stores the carbs as fat. We know this is true for several reasons. One, a wild skunk’s diet is at least 85% insects and larvae. In […]
Skunk owners need to be aware that it is possible to pass on upper respiratory illnesses like a cold or the flu to their pet skunk. The ability of a human to pass along an illness to their pet is called “reverse zoonosis,” Surprisingly, this happens more often than you might think. Depending on the age and health of the skunk, this can range from serious to fatal so you need to promptly take the skunk to a Veterinarian if you think this has happened. Signs of upper respiratory infections in pet skunks are pretty similar to what humans experience: sniffling, sneezing, coughing, and crusty eyes. Often the skunk will stop eating because taste is affected when they cannot smell properly. Your Veterinarian can swab the secretions and identify bacteria, if present. Generally, they may start the skunk on a broad spectrum antibiotic like Clavamox, but may need to change to a different antibiotic, depending on the results when the lab report for the swab comes back. The sooner you get the skunk to the Veterinarian, the better off he or she will be. Infections can take a heavy toll on the senior skunk and you do not want a simple illness to turn into pneumonia! If it is determined that the illness is viral, other drugs may be prescribed including an antibiotic in the case of a secondary bacterial infection. Oral antibiotics may be helpful but inhaled antibiotics often work faster and costs surprisingly little. Even if the Veterinarian […]
The 2016 Skunkie Egg Hunt is this coming weekend, Sunday the 13th from 1 to 5 pm at Judy Slade’s house. There will be an egg hunt for the skunks and the people! Spring Prince and Spring Princess and Friendliest will be awarded. Lunch will be served, its a fun time for all! Skunk owners in or near central Florida won’t want to miss this event.
It appears that the state of Tennessee has changed it’s mind about pet skunk ownership. Initial approval of the change has been approved. This is seems like a positive move forward that hopefully other states may follow in their footsteps. NASHVILLE — A bill to allow Tennesseans to keep skunks as pets has won initial approval in committees of both the House and Senate with the sponsors contending it will provide a moneymaking opportunity for breeders of domesticated and de-scented animals. The Senate Energy, Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved the bill — SB1821 — in less than two minutes on a 7-1 vote without discussion beyond a brief explanation by Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, the Senate sponsor, who said 17 other states already allow skunks to be kept as domestic pets and sold, including the border states of Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia. The bill is scheduled for a Senate floor vote this week. The discussion was somewhat more lively in the House Agriculture Subcommittee, where the companion bill was approved on voice vote with Rep. Johnny Shaw, D-Bolivar, asking to be recorded as voting no after questioning sponsor Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, at some length. Faison said the bill was requested by constituents. Initially, “I thought it was a joke,” he said. But on looking into the matter, Faison said that skunks can be sold as pets for up to $1,000 each and there could be “tons of revenue” for those eager to engage in skunk marketing. There is […]
The State of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has proposed some changes that will affect pet skunk ownership in Oregon, if passed into law. The draft proposals are in various stages of review by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Division, and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission. Oregon pet skunk owners have until March 4, 2016 to send their comments in. On March 18, 2016, there will be a meeting to discuss and decide whether to adopt some, or all of these proposed changes. Read all proposed changes here. At this time, it appears that a Wildlife Holding Permit will be required and owners will be limited to 2 skunks unless they can get approval for more. Breeding is not allowed and skunks will have to be spayed or neutered if two of the opposite sex are housed together. Ownership can only be transferred to other permit holders with prior approval. Facility or home checks may be required. Skunks are required to be permanently marked with a lip tattoo or RFID device. Caging requirements listed below must be met. There is also quite a bit listed about grandfathering for wildlife that is currently, legally owned. The owners will have a year to comply with the new requirements, once they have been finalized. Cage Requirements for Mustelids Ermine (Mustela erminea) Long-Tailed Weasel (Mustela frenata) Skunk (Mephitis spp.) • Enclosures require a 32 square foot area per animal with an enclosure at least 4 feet in height with […]
Introducing the the Pet Skunk Message Board, an online community for skunk owners to chat, ask questions and post pictures of their pet skunks. The message board is public so you can read the topics but if you would like to join in and post, you need to register here. Stop in regularly and share stories about your pet skunk!
Fall is here and for those who got a kit in the spring, your baby is officially a junior skunk. He or she should look just like a smaller version of an adult skunk. By now, the 3 de-wormings are complete. Once your skunk weighs 4 pounds or more, you will switch to using Panacur C, 1 gram to de-worm and follow the instructions for an adult skunk. Read more about that here. After completing the cycle of de-worming for 3 days, wait 14 days, then de-worm again for 3 days, you need to mark your calendar to do this twice a year or every 6 months. Make sure all other pets in your household are de-wormed on schedule too as they can pass parasites to your skunk or your skunk to them. Following these easy steps can prevent most cases of prolapses as parasite infestations are almost always the cause of prolapsing in skunks. It will also prevent the discoloration of the white of the fur, assuming the diet fed is healthy. By now, most people will have had their boy skunk neutered. Neutering can be done anywhere between 3 and 6 months assuming the skunk is healthy. Girl skunks are spayed between 4 months and a year, depending on their size. If you have both a boy and a girl skunk that have not been spayed/neutered, it is important that they not be allowed any time together as you do not want to have a surprise litter of […]
Meet little Hershey, a tiny, sweet boy only 6 months old. We found Hershey through another skunk owner who had contacted me earlier this week about an ad for a skunk that she had seen posted on Craig’s List. It is illegal in Florida to sell Class III, captive wildlife without the proper permits but unscrupulous people seem to find this an easy way to make a buck at the animal’s expense. I searched for the ad and found that the owner had posted pictures showing a young male skunk in horrific condition. While it is sadly not uncommon to take in adult rescues in poor condition, this was the worst case of neglect of a junior skunk that I have seen in years. Several people contacted the owner in the hope of reasoning with him to turn the skunk over to skunk rescue. A volunteer was able to meet up with the owner, come to terms (ransom), and delivered little Hershey last Wednesday. I got the phone call to fill the bath tub as they approached my home. Hershey arrived drenched in his own urine and smelled worse than awful. The skin on his belly and inside his legs was bright red and inflamed. He was removed from his carrier and placed into the bath tub. From his reaction, this was his first bath! I gently washed him twice, which turned the water red by the time I finished. Even though he must have been in pain, he never tried to […]
The show was great as usual! It is priceless to catch up with old friends and put faces on the people I have corresponded with during the year. Below is the list of winners. I’m sure it was difficult for the judges this year as there were so many beautiful skunks entered. If you missed this one, it is not too early to plan for next year. More information coming soon. Albino Albino Overall 1st – Petals – R. Collum Albino Senior 6-10 1st – Petals – R. Collum Black Classic Black Adult 1-5 1st – Victoria – L. Cober Black Adult 1-5 2nd – Myla – L. Judge Black Adult 1-5 3rd – Logan – J. Lowell Black Overall 1st – Victoria – L. Cober Black Senior 6-10 1st – Reilly – L. Butler Black Senior 6-10 2nd – June Bug – R. Collum Black Senior 6-10 3rd – Daingerfield – M. Howe Black Chip Black Chip Adult 1-5 1st – Thelma – A. Peckham Black Chip Adult 1-5 2nd – Suki – M. Ellis/ Perez Black Chip Adult 1-5 3rd – Cassie – M. Ellis/Perez Black Chip Junior 1st – Ginger – L. Berry Black Chip Junior 2nd – Newt – S. Brunson Black Chip Overall 1st – Ginger – L. Berry Black Chip Overall 2nd – Newt – S. Brunson Black Chip Overall 3rd – Thelma – A. Peckham Black Chip Senior 6-10 1st – Nala – L. Bean Black Chip Senior 6-10 2nd – Harley – […]
So you are a skunk owner and are wondering if it is time to add another skunk to your family? This may not be as simple as it sounds. In the wild, skunks are solitary creatures. They interact during mating seasons and in northern states, adults will den together for warmth. Some skunk owners mistakenly believe their skunk requires the company of another skunk only to find their beloved pet reacts with hostility or violence to the newcomer. An adult skunk can sleep at least 20 hours per day and they do NOT require companions other than their human family. If you are new to pet skunks, please do not make this mistake. Some things to consider if you are thinking of adding another skunk: 1) you have the time to properly introduce the new skunk to the household. 2) you can afford the additional medical care. If you have one skunk and struggle with the cost of Veterinary care, you will be doubling that cost by adding another skunk. 3) you can afford to properly feed the newcomer. 4) you have the space in your home to safely house both skunks. If the skunks do not get along, are you willing and able to keep them apart for their safety for as long as it takes? In some cases, this means permanently. In my house, the main exercise we get is by going over the baby gates that section off rooms. 5) you understand skunks are captive wildlife that […]
Sadly, obesity is much too common in pet skunks and one of the leading causes for their current short lifespan. Obesity is completely the owner’s responsibility! It is difficult to help the skunk owner who doesn’t realize that they are the source of the problem. People are shocked when I ask if the skunk is calling Domino’s to order a pizza? The owner buys, prepares, and serves the skunk the food. Who else could be a fault? I get responses like the skunk gets into food for other pets; the bird feeds the skunk; the skunk is starving and gets mean if I don’t feed them; or my boyfriend, husband, roommate feeds the skunk junk food. All these are excuses that sounds as if the owner is aware of the problem but hasn’t done anything about it. Remove anything eatable out of reach of the skunk. Block access to rooms where other pets are fed. Feed skunk correctly so he/she is not starving and get boyfriend, husband, roommate on the same page regarding skunk’s diet. The skunk should NOT be running the household! If there is one thing we know about skunks, it is that they are opportunistic scavengers. They have an uncanny ability to figure out who will give them what they want and they will focus on that person. There are 4 reasons the skunk is obese: the wrong type of food is being fed (not species appropriate). the wrong portion is being fed (if the food […]