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What Is The Best Housing For A Pet Skunk?

Updated on November 4, 2007
Skunks are used to roaming their territories freely.
Skunks are used to roaming their territories freely.

The best housing for a pet skunk is your house. They are like dogs and cats in that they hate being caged up. If you've ever seen a skunk at the zoo, what is the skunk always doing? Pacing back and forth incessantly. This is a sign of stress, much like weaving in horses. This is because skunks are used to having the right of way in their territories, because of their powerful spray.

Domesticated skunks have been descented and are often spayed or neutered, but they will still pace if put in a cage. They need the run of your home, and outside, too (if you can keep an eye on them). Pet skunks are bred to be friendly and to bond with humans. They also can bond with dogs and cats, but that depends on the individual animals involved, so supervision is a must. Pet skunks keep themselves very clean.

Not A Decision To Take Lightly

Never take a skunk out of the wild. They will be furious - and stinky! The dangers to yourself and the skunk are overwhelming. The only skunks safe enough to be pets are domesticated skunks, which come in a lot of colors, including albino. Sadly, these affectionate and intelligent pets are just as subject to being abandoned as more traditional pets like cats and dogs. They cannot survive in the wild like their wild-raised relatives. Always consider adoption before buying a baby skunk. These lovely creatures can live to be 15 years old, so be prepared to live with them for a long time.

Pet skunks are expensive to buy - a few hundred dollars, on average. You need to be sure you can not only afford the initial purchase price, but their upkeep. They will need rabies shots. You also need a vet who is knowledgeable about pet skunks. Try to find this vet BEFORE bringing a pet skunk home!

You really to socialize with them when they are babies to get them used to living with humans. This bonding is similar to the socialization process done for young puppies. Skunks often like to be carried in slings or baby carrier pouches, which helps in the socialization.

Skunks are legal in some states but not others, and in some places you often need a permit to have one. For a list of legal states, click here.

A Den Of Their Own

Although pet skunks need the room to roam your home freely, they also need a place that is just their own to go to for security. This den could be a pet carrier with the door removed, a large cage with the door open, or whatever you can improvise. But when you and the skunk decide on a den, that's the den for the skunk's life. In this way, the skunk will feel more secure knowing there is a nook that his or hers only.

A Note About Baby Skunks

Baby pet skunks under 6 months can really hurt themselves if they are not supervised, so when you have to leave the house, put them in a large cage for their own safety.

For more information on pet skunks, check out Owners Of Pet Skunks (OOPS). As you can guess, a sense of humor is essential when living with a pet skunk!

Peaches the pet skunk likes to steal clothing from a very understanding family. Film by KMRagan

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