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The Pet Skunk

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Pet Skunks are becoming more popular than ever especially with the problems and illegality of the Prairie dog.  Skunks are adorable, hardy, intelligent and mischievous.  (May require child locks on cabinets!)  They come descented, but require spaying (or neutering).  Fecal exams will not tell you if they have worms.  They are very susceptible to fleas but only Advantage brand should be used since look alike brands may be deadly to them.

Skunks are not domesticated animals and cannot be handled, treated or disciplined as such.  Learn proper skunk handling!

Diet is critical.  The number one long-term problem with this species is obesity often leading to fatty liver disease and a shortened life span.  Lack of exercise, improper diets and overeating are to blame.  Some "Skunkie diets" and some raw diets have proven to be inadequate causing anemias, deformities (like rickets in people) electrolyte imbalances and poor hair coats.  A proven and inexpensive diet is Mazuri omnivore Zoo feed A, which is a Purina zoo line.  Add vegetables, small amounts of fruit, cottage cheese, gut loaded crickets and king meal worms and you're in business.  This diet is proven to satisfy the natural instincts of these omnivore/insectivores.

Direct sunlight via short play or walks is necessary a few times a week or use a UVB bulb 3 to 6 hours daily.  This is important to metabolize calcium through natural vitamin D even though skunks are primarily nocturnal.

Do your homework first and don't believe everything you read.  Find a veterinarian who is versed in and sees a lot of skunks and their problems to learn best how to avoid them.  Your skunk depends on you for proper care.

The above is a reprint of an article written by Jack Landess, D.V.M., as a public service.  Reprint permission was obtained from the Florida Pet Pages.

 

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