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Exotic Pets Profile: Skunks

Important Info for Pet Retailers

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Exotic Pets Profile: Skunks

With the right knowledge and care, skunks make terrific pets!

Photo by Ryan McVay/Getty Images

When it comes to unique exotic pets, skunks are very much in demand – the domesticated, de-scented ones, at least. The little rascals are also difficult to acquire.

Thus, pet stores and/or breeders who handle pet skunks or offer services for these enchanting critters are very much in demand, as well.

But be aware that pet skunks are high-maintenance; they require a great deal of specialized care and a strong commitment from those who handle them or adopt them.

That’s why those considering dealing with skunks and their foods and supplies need to do their homework.

Important Initial Questions to Ask Before Dealing with This Exotic Pet:

Are Skunks Legal In Your State?

First, make sure that your state allows ownership of this exotic pet; not all do. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a good place to start.

Is Vet Care for Pet Skunks Available in Your Area?

Be very certain that there are reputable veterinarians in your area who are willing and qualified to administer medical care to skunks. Not only do these pets require regular vaccines (notably for rabies and distemper) and checkups, they need care that differs greatly from traditional pets.

Moreover, pet skunks must be neutered and spayed at the appropriate age, so make sure there are vets in your region who are capable of properly performing these procedures.

Also be advised that skunks may be prone to rectal prolapse, a condition whereby the rectal tissue separates from the anus. So you and potential skunk parents need to be apprised of this.

Can Your Potential Pet Parent Clients Afford this Costly Exotic Pet?

Call it a case of stinky sticker shock, because skunks are quite expensive. The average price of a pet skunk is $300. When you factor in vet care, plus neutering or spaying costs, these little guys are worth their weight in gold. You must make prospective skunk parents aware of this.

What is the Potential Pet Skunk Parent’s Lifestyle?

If the customer who wishes to acquire a skunk spends long hours away from home, or has rambunctious young children and/or pets, this is not a good choice.

Skunks are highly sensitive animals that require gentle handling and patience, plus loads of attention and affection from their humans.

They do not do well when left alone for long periods of time. Nor do they adjust well in chaotic households.

Important note: Skunks must never be harshly scolded or – heaven forbid! – spanked. Not only does this not work in disciplining them, they will become highly resentful and will distance themselves from their humans. Indeed, these little guys hold a grudge forever!

Some Other Important Pet Skunk Factors to Note:

  • Skunks are master escape artists. So homes must be thoroughly skunk-proofed to ensure that they don’t get outside.
  • They are nesters, who will steal everything in sight in order to feather their beds. In other words, people must keep a close watch on their socks and underwear.
  • Even though pet skunks are de-scented, they still must be bathed regularly because they tend to perspire rather heavily.
  • As commercially produced skunk food is not available at this time, special care must be taken with their diets. As they are omnivores, they require balanced diets containing such proteins as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and nuts, as well as fresh raw fruits and veggies.

Phew! It seems like I’m giving pet skunks a bad rap here. Not so. To give credit where it’s due, these do make great pets, under the right circumstances and with the proper care.

Here are some pros to this otherwise delightful exotic pet:

  • Skunks are highly intelligent, affectionate and playful.
  • They are very loyal to the humans they bond with.
  • They are a potentially good choice for people who suffer from allergies to other pets.
  • They can be litter trained.
  • They are adorable.

Now the question is: Where do you get these cute little devils? Start with a reputable pet skunk breeder.

Plus, there are rescue organizations, such as the highly respected Skunk Haven, that need to find good homes for these pets. You may want to work with such an organization, or local rescue shelters.

These sometimes acquire skunks that people can no longer care for.

When all is said and done, these babies may be a hand-full. But with the right care and well-educated, loving human parents, they are truly wonderful pets.

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