Feeding baby skunks

Skunk Care


Orphaned Squirrel
Orphaned Chipmunk
Orphaned Raccoon
Orphaned Skunk
Orphaned Rabbit/Hare
Orphaned Woodchuck

IS THIS SKUNK TRULY ORPHANED?If the baby skunk is out of its burrow for extended periods of time on its own, it is likely orphaned and worth trying to catch.


RAISING A SINGLE SKUNK: If you determine that the skunk is orphaned, it will have littermates that also need help so continue to check the area frequently for up to a week. If no others are found it is vital to the skunk's proper socialization and release to be raised with other skunks, a single skunk has little chance of a successful release. Contact vets or local humane societies to try and find a buddy. If this is impossible, handling of the skunk should be minimal, give toys to stimulate, keep confined (i.e. in a cage), and do not treat as a pet. It is illegal to keep as a pet plus it wouldn't make a good pet, as it's a wild animal.


AGING THE SKUNK: In order to properly care for the baby you have found, it is important to know its age. Consult the chart on the back to assess age.


FEEDING: Orphans that have been without their mother will be suffering from chill and dehydration. They must be thoroughly warmed first, and then offered warmed rehydration solution. Pedialyte is a rehydration solution that is available in drug stores- it should be heated to body temperature and offered every couple hours for the first several feedings. Feed the baby skunk esbilac powder, mix only enough for 24hrs and keep it refrigerated. Esbilac is a puppy milk replacer, which you should be able to purchase at a vet or pet store. Cow's milk, human baby formulas, and most pet products (except Esbilac) are not suitable and will likely cause death. Use a 1cc or 5cc oral syringe (try a vet or pharmacy), warm the formula, and hold the skunk in a towel, firmly, and covering its eyes. The skunk will suck very quickly and take too much formula if you are not in total control. If this happens the skunk will sneeze formula out of its nose Stop feeding, turn upside down, gently rub its back, and gently wipe the excess formula from its nose. Repeat this for about 5 minutes or until the sneezing stops and breathing returns to normal. If severe this can cause immediate death or pneumonia on a long-term basis. This is why bottles are not suitable to use. To avoid this from occurring feed in a quiet room, go slowly and watch both the skunk and the syringe, if air bubbles appear in the syringe, stop feeding and expel the air, (see chart on back for feeding schedule). Once feeding is finished, wash its face well with a damp face cloth, as formula dries quickly and can cause fur loss. It is very critical that baby skunks are stimulated to urinate before and after every feed. The skunk may be doing it a bit on its own but this may be overflow and if not stimulated the bladder will rupture. To stimulate a baby skunk hold it over a garbage container. Dip either your finger or a Q-tip in warm water and then light feathery strokes over its genital area will cause the skunk to urinate and/or have a bowel movement. Once the skunk starts to pee don't stop as the skunk will then stop.

SUPPLEMENTS AFTER WEANING: There are several supplements that are recommended be added to a skunk's diet after it is weaned:

Taurine - an amino acid that is available in capsule form from health food stores. Open capsule and sprinkle granules on skunk's food. Each weaned skunk should get 150 mg. per day.

Calcium - 50 mg. elemental calcium per skunk per day - this can be sprinkled on food. It is important as skunks can suffer from metabolic bone disease.

Vitamin D - 30 IU Vit D-3 (divide the tablet by 13 if it is a 400 IU tablet). Vitamin D assists in calcium being properly absorbed.

If you are not able to get calcium and vitamin D, you can sprinkle bone meal on food for weaned skunks.


HOUSING: Housing requirements will change as the skunk grows and develops, see chart for details.


RELEASE: The skunks will not be ready to be released until they are 16 weeks old (usually late August or early September). It is ideal for the skunks to spend approximately 2 months in their large outdoor cage (4ft x 8ft, made of 1 welded wire mesh). The cage should also have a bottom made out of welded wire mesh to prevent the skunks from being able to escape, the cage should set flat on the ground and the bottom can be covered with some earth. A nesting box (20 x 15 and 12 high) sits on the floor of the cage. A sand box should also be in the cage that is used for digging, make sure to change the sand frequently. Do not allow the family pets access to the skunks, otherwise you are teaching them they have nothing to fear from domestic cats or dogs, something that could cost them their life in the wild. For release, choose a site well away from roads, with a mixture of woods, brushy corners, open fields, a water source nearby, and abandoned out buildings. Before releasing it is important to investigate the area, if there are neighbours trapping or harming skunks, they should not be released there. Also, check the forecast to be sure there will be at least 2-3 days of dry weather after the skunks are released. Skunks should be released in late afternoon and transported as far away from the road as possible. Bring a supply of dog food so that the skunks can have a food source until they find their own in the wild.


DISEASE: Skunk kits often carry roundworm and may need to be de-wormed, you can talk to a vet about this. Skunks are susceptible to distemper, you may want to consider having the skunk(s) vaccinated for distemper as well as against rabies. If you are concerned about rabies, you may want to consider having a pre-exposure vaccine for anyone who will be handling the animals-call your vet for further information. Furthermore, with all animals, you should always take precautions to avoid being bitten while you are handling the animal.

**In some jurisdictions it is illegal to care for skunks and you should consult your government wildlife agency.











-nearly naked

-fine hair showing black & white pattern

-eyes & ears are sealed



2 - 2. 5 mls Formula


5- 6 times per day.


-stimulate genital area

before and after feeding

to induce elimination.

-use a q-tip or the tip of your finger dipped in warm water.

-vital to house baby animals inside a house

-cardboard box filled with

soft, ravel free blankets and a hot water bottle.

-protect from drafts.


-when handling the skunk hold its tail between its legs, this way it can not spray. Be gentle and do not startle the skunk and you should not have problems with it spraying.

-wrap skunk in a soft towel when removed

from box, to protect from drafts.

-watch for signs of diarrhea. Stool may turn

to a soft, yellow pudding from the formula.



1 week


-slightly furred

-skin becoming pigmented

4-6 mls. Formula


5 - 6 times per day


-same as above

-same as above

-wrap in towel while feeding.


2 weeks

-weight 125g

-fully furred

-eyes still closed

8-10 mls. Formula


4 times per day


-same as above

-same as above


-wrap in towel while feeding.

-any diarrhea from formula should have

cleared up by now. (Call your vet if it still

has diarrhea)


3 weeks

-eyes & ears open

10-15 mls. Formula


4 times per day


-same as above

-can be moved into a large pet carrier, continue to provide towels and blankets.

-wrap in towel while feeding.



4 weeks

-weight 340g

-attempting to walk on short legs

15-20 mls. Formula


4 times per day


-same as above

-same as above.

-can eliminate artificial heat source


-introduce dry dog kibble (smaller size kibble for small breeds is best), moistened with water, along with a separate dish of drinking water. Refresh solid foods morning and night. * never use either puppy kibble or cat kibble as they are too high in protein and cause metabolic bone disease in skunks.


5 weeks

-very playful, steadier on legs

20-25 mls.



3 times per day


--skunk should now

eliminate on its own.

- same as above


-continue to feed dog kibble (increase as needed), and introduce natural foods, nuts, fruits, cooked meat, vegetables, eggs and occassionally mealworms and crickets. These foods are critical to produce a balanced, healthy diet.

*Depending on teeth development, moistening of kibble can be eliminated.


6 weeks


25-30 mls.



2 times per day




-same as above

-same as above


7 weeks

-fully weaned


30-35 mls.



1-2 times per




- skunks are now ready to live in the large outdoor cage. They must have a secure nesting box and a sand box (change frequently) for digging.

-skunk should require very little formula

and should be eating solids consistently.

Wean fully during the 7th week.

See Supplements outlined under Feeding.

Should I feed a baby skunk I found?

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Baby skunks do look very cute and cuddly with their soft black and white fur, and some finders are tempted to raise them as pets. But raising and feeding a baby skunk is not so easy and straightforward.

In actual fact, that kit is a tiny and fragile animal that needs a lot of care. In fact, it is unlikely to survive if it does not receive adequate care, and so it is safer to hand a baby skunk find over to professional wildlife rehabilitators, rather than give it inexperienced care, albeit well-meaning. You must also find out what is obtainable in your state or county as regards the care of wild animals.

If you find a baby skunk, observe to see if it is dehydrated or not. A dehydrated kit should be given warm water wit Nutri-cal orally in the right proportion and with the use of a 1cc syringe.

What should I do if I find an orphaned baby skunk?
What should I do if I find a nest of baby skunks?
Do Baby Or Juvenile Skunks Spray?

It is however, not advisable for you to feed that baby skunk because the food that it needs in not the regular puppy or kitten meals. A baby skunk requires an entirely different meal from a kitten or puppy. Inappropriate meals can result in the animal getting sick and weak with diarrhea.

If you must feed the kit though, note that they are usually well fed with calcium, protein, minerals and vitamins in the right proportions for good growth. If it is not properly fed, a baby skunk may suffer from kidney stone, bone spurs, poor development, bone calcification, and so on. Thus, it is important that these nutrients be given to the baby skunk in the right proportion; it must neither be too much or too small.

You can get the correct formula for baby skunk from animal control professional or give a mixture of KMR and warm water. A well fed baby skunk will defecate and urinate with ease and frequently.

After about 3 months of feeding the baby skunk, it should be able to eat on its own. By this time, you may start feeding it with fatty fish, eggs, carrots, sea foods, vegetable oil, yoghurt, cottage cheese, vanilla wafer, chopped mushrooms, peas, corn, squash, nuts, cod liver oil and so on.

Go back to the Skunk Removal page, or learn tips by reading How to get rid of skunks.

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Home Mammals Carnivores Skunks

Striped Skunk
Striped Skunk
(Mephitis mephitis)

Distributed from southern Canada to northern Mexico.

Body length 28-38 cm, tail 19-44 cm, weight 0.8-2.5 kg.

Inhabits flat areas with tree plantations, meadows and agricultural lands. The striped skunk is rarely seen more than three kilometers from a water source.

This is a nocturnal animal. During the day, he sleeps in an underground hole and emerges from the shelter only at dusk. Prefers to use the burrows of other animals, or uses natural niches and cavities under tree stumps or buildings. If necessary, it can dig holes itself, using its long front claws. Typically, a striped skunk burrow consists of several chambers and entrances. By autumn, skunks accumulate a solid layer of fat and from November to March fit into the winter sleep. Throughout the cold period, females remain in their dens, and males (during the warming period) leave their nests for feeding. Usually several females with their young gather in such a den. When in danger, the striped skunk first assumes a threatening posture - warningly lifting its tail, turning back to the enemy. If this does not help, then he releases a stream of oily, foul-smelling liquid (butyl mercaptan) from his prianal glands located to the right and left of the anus. Both jets merge into one, and are sprayed with fine rain at a distance of up to 4 meters. If it gets into the eyes, the liquid causes temporary blindness. After a while, tears clear the eyes of butyl mercaptan.

Skunk is an omnivore. 70% of its diet is insects, the rest is small mammals, fish, crustaceans, grass, fruits, grains, nuts and carrion.

The female gives birth to one litter per year. Pregnancy lasts 60-70 days, the strip of which appears from 2 to blind and deaf puppies. At the age of eight days, they can already spray the enemy with a caustic liquid, and at 24 days, when their eyes are opened, they will be able to "shoot" aiming. Puppies begin to leave the nest only after 1.5 months. Lactation lasts up to 2 months and at the same time the cubs begin to go hunting with their mother. Young skunks leave their mother at about one year of age, just after reaching puberty.

Mexican skunk
Hooded Skunk
(Mephitis macroura)

Distributed in the USA (southern Texas, Arizona and New Mexico), Mexico (up to Costa Rica), Guatemala and Nicaragua, Honduras.

The length of adult males reaches 70 cm (of which about 37.7 cm is occupied by the tail, and another 6.9 cm by the hind legs). The length of adult females is 65 cm (37 cm tail, 6 cm hind legs).

Inhabits rocky canyons, near rivers, scrub and grass plains, coastal areas, pine forests, forest edges and pastures. In the mountains it can rise to a height of 2,400 meters above sea level.

Lead a solitary nocturnal lifestyle. With the onset of dusk, they go hunting, and during the day they hide in burrows, in dense vegetation or in rock crevices. Extremely secretive and shy animals. They occupy territories with an area of ​​2.8-5 km 2 , however, when meeting with relatives, they do not show aggression. Several animals can even feed next to each other.

This is an insectivorous animal. When searching for insects, it moves slowly. Having obtained a bird's egg, he does not break the shell with his teeth, but throws it on a hard surface until it breaks. In addition to insects, hooded skunks can also eat small rodents.

The breeding season runs from mid-February to the end of March. Pregnancy lasts 59-77 days. Every year the female gives birth to 2-8 cubs. Puberty occurs before one year.

Western Spotted Skunk
Western Spotted Skunk
(Spilogale gracilis)

Distributed in the western part of the USA (Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico, Colorado, Utah, California, Washington, DC)

Length with tail - males 350-581 mm, females 320-470 mm, tail length: males 100-210 mm, females 85-203 mm. Body weight - males 500-900 g, females 200-600 g.

Inhabits rocky areas, prefers steep banks of canyons of fast-flowing rivers overgrown with thorny bushes. Avoid dense forests and wetlands. Often settles in the immediate vicinity of a person.

A good climber, so he can easily get birds and their eggs. It tries to escape from predators on tall trees. Like all skunks, the western anal glands secrete a special secretion of a foul-smelling oily fluid. In most of its range (except in Idaho, where it hibernates during the cold winter months), the western spotted skunk is active all year round. In winter nests, you can count up to twenty animals wintering together (females and their matured cubs). All spotted skunks are agile, good at rock climbing and digging. It leads a nocturnal lifestyle, and during the day it sleeps in a shelter (a rocky cave, a hole in the roots of a tree, in dense thickets or a hollow tree). It occupies old burrows of other animals, sometimes digs burrows itself or settles in the attics of houses.

Pregnancy lasts 28-31 days, however, taking into account the delay, the female gives birth to cubs 210-230 days after conception. In late April - early May, the female gives birth to 2-5 cubs. Newborn puppies weigh 22.5 g. The eyes open at the age of 32 days, and the ability to shoot the secretion of the anal gland appears on the 40-46th day. Lactation lasts up to 50-54 days.

Omnivorous, feeds on birds and their eggs, young rabbits, mice, voles and vegetation (root crops, fruits, berries, grapes, grains), as well as scorpions, grasshoppers and other insects and their larvae.

Eastern Spotted Skunk
Eastern Spotted Skunk
(Spilogale putorius)

Distributed in North America (from northeastern Mexico to the Canadian border of the United States, occurs in the Great Plains, and in the north - up to the state of Pennsylvania) .

Body length 45-60 cm, tail 15-21.5 cm. Weight of males 276-885 g, females 207-475 g.

Inhabits wooded areas and meadows with tall grass.

Terrestrial and nocturnal, active all year round. Likes to climb the rocks of the canyons. This is an excellent climber, when meeting with the enemy, it climbs trees. For rest, the animal arranges a shelter in the hollows of trees, digs a hole in the ground or occupies the hole of another animal. The warning variegated coloration of the skunk is a good defense against predators. A slow (waddling) gait also indicates the fact of its inedibility.

Eastern spotted skunks often come in multiples, but are not as social as the striped skunk. During hibernation in one den there are sometimes up to 8 individuals.

The breeding season lasts from March to April, the second activity is less often observed in July-August (second litter). Pregnancy lasts about 50-65 days, sometimes up to four months, after which 2-9 cubs are born (usually 4-5). Newborn puppies are blind and helpless, weigh 9 g, their body is covered with hair. Eyes open at 30-32 days. Young people know how to shoot with a smelling liquid at 46 days of age. Lactation lasts up to 42-54 days. At the age of three months, young people reach adult size.

Feeds on small mammals and birds. The diet changes seasonally: in winter it feeds on rabbits and corn, in spring - field mice and insects, in summer - insects (most), mice, birds and their eggs, fruits.

Pygmy Spotted Skunk
Pygmy Spotted Skunk
(Spilogale pygmaea)

Distributed in a small area along the Pacific coast of Mexico from Sinaloa to Teguantepec.

Body length 22-28 mm including tail. Weight - 150-320 gr.

Inhabits deciduous tropical forests, shrub low-mountain savannahs, steppes, coastal dunes. Avoids dense forests and swampy lowlands.

Nocturnal and solitary except for a short mating period. Males are very territorial and show aggression when defending the boundaries of their territory from other males, their aggression does not apply to females. Often they travel along the beds of small rivers, they know shallows and fords.

The breeding season for this species of skunk is from April to August, and pups are born from July to August. Pregnancy lasts 6-7 weeks, but sometimes the development of the embryo stops for a short time. The female usually has one heat per year, but she brings litter twice a year, once - rarely. There are 1-6 cubs in a litter.

Feeds on insects, fruits, berries during summer months, and in winter eats small animals, birds and reptiles.

Southern Spotted Skunk
Southern Spotted Skunk
(Spilogale angustifrons)

Distributed in Central and South America: from the central regions of Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Salvador, Nicaragua, Hondua.

Length about 50 cm, tail 11-27 cm. Body weight about 500 g.

Inhabits prairies, scree, avoids dense forests.

This animal is nocturnal, although it can also be found during the day. During daylight hours, it sleeps in shelters: hollows, under fallen tree trunks, under roots, in caves. Often chooses hollows, which are located at a height of 10 m above the ground. Slick, climbs well. Sometimes several individuals gather in one lair. The anal glands are well developed and use them for defense against enemies.

Leads a solitary lifestyle. Pairs are formed only during the breeding season. The breeding season runs from February to March. Pregnancy is about 42 days, but taking into account the delay is about 120 days. The female gives birth to 2-6 blind puppies. Lactation lasts 8 weeks, then young skunks leave the nest.

Feeds on small mammals, lizards, birds, eggs, invertebrates and fruits. Skunks attack venomous snakes, and there is evidence that they are somewhat immune to rattlesnake venom.

Humboldt's Hog-nosed Skunk
(Conepatus humboldtii)

Distributed in South America in the countries of Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. Its habitat is an area overgrown with shrubs, sparse forest, often skunks settle in open forests, and avoid dense forests.

Reaches a length of 30-49 cm, excluding the tail (16-41 cm), has a mass of 2.3-4.5 kg.

Active at night and solitary. The animal occupies a plot of 7-16 hectares. During the day, the skunk sleeps in a rocky cave or burrow. Feeds on plant roots, centipedes, spiders, amphibians, reptiles, small birds, eggs, small mammals, crabs and fruits.

Little is known about the reproduction of this species. After two months of pregnancy, the female gives birth to 2-5 cubs.

Common Hog-nosed Skunk
Common Hog-nosed Skunk
(Conepatus mesoleucus)

Lives in the south of the USA - in the states of Arizona (southwest), Colorado (southeast, Texas), New Mexico south), as well as in Mexico and in a number of Central American countries: El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua. Prefers to settle at the foot of the mountains, overgrown with forest and shrubs.

Body length ranges from 33-34 cm, weight is 1. 1-2.7 kg.

Active at night and solitary. During the winter months, it also occurs during the day. During the day, the skunk sleeps in a rocky cave or hole, which serves him for wintering or for the birth of offspring.

Omnivorous, feeds mainly on underground parts of plants and insects (the latter make up 50-82% of the annual diet).

Male and female meet in February and mate. After two months of pregnancy, the female gives birth to 2-5 cubs. This happens in late April - early May. Young weigh 450 g by mid-June, and in August they feed on their own and are independent of the family.

Eastern Hog-nosed Skunk
Eastern Hog-nosed Skunk
(Conepatus leuconotus)

Occurs in southeastern Texas and eastern Mexico. It settles in a wide variety of places - in forests, on grassy plains, in mountainous areas, on coastal lowlands, in tropical thickets.

Its body length is 40-46 cm, tail 20-41 cm, weight 2-4. 5 kg.

Solitary and active at night.

The eastern skunk reproduces in the same way as the common pig-nosed skunk. After a two-month pregnancy, the female brings 2-4 cubs. Males and females reach sexual maturity by 10-12 months. Life expectancy in captivity is 7-8 years, in nature - much less.

Little is known about the diet of the oriental skunk: mostly insects have been found in its stomach. It may also feed on small mammals and fruits.

Pig-nosed skunk Molina
Molina's Hog-nosed Skunk
(Conepatus chinga)

Inhabits central and southern South America. It can be found in the countries of Chile, Peru, in the north of Argentina, in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and also in the south of Brazil. Inhabits open plains and bushes in canyons and steppes.

Its body length is 30-49 cm, tail 16-41 cm, weight 2.3-4.5 kg.

Leads a solitary lifestyle. It is active at night, and during the day it sleeps in a hole, which is most often located in a rocky cave. On cold winter days, the skunk practically does not leave his shelter.

Omnivorous. With the help of powerful claws and a fleshy nose, he breaks the ground and extracts insects and spiders. It also feeds on fruits, snakes, small mammals, and eggs. The diet of the skunk varies depending on the time of year - there are more insects in spring and summer, in winter it finds other food.

The breeding season is in February. The female gives birth in late April - early May, cubs, which she raises alone. Up to 8-10 weeks she feeds them with milk, then they begin to feed on their own.

Striped Hog-nosed Skunk
Striped Hog-nosed Skunk
(Conepatus semistriatus)

Inhabits Mexico and countries of Central America: Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Brazil, and Panama Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela. It lives in open forest areas, but does not go into places where the common pig-nosed skunk settles.

Sunda Stink Badger
Sunda Stink Badger
(Mydaus javanensis)

Distributed on the islands of Sumatra, Borneo, Java and Natuna. It is found in mountainous regions throughout its range, usually at an altitude of 2100 meters, sometimes lower.

The length of his body with the head is 37-51 cm, tail - 50-75 mm, body weight 1.4-3.6 kg.

The stink badger gets its name from its ability to expel a smelly liquid from its anal glands, similar to a skunk. It has a ferocious disposition - when caught, it growls and bites. This is a slow and leisurely moving animal, but if necessary it can run up to 100 meters at a brisk trot. When a threat occurs, it usually bites, and uses the anal glands in exceptional cases. The fluid secreted from these glands causes temporary suffocation, and if it gets into the eyes, blindness.

Active all year round. Leads a nocturnal lifestyle. During the day, he sleeps in a hole (up to one and a half to two meters), which he digs himself. The hole ends with a nesting chamber, up to 60 cm in diameter, where the animal rests. The entrance to the hole is masked by branches and various vegetation. In the mountainous regions of Borneo, it often uses natural caves for its dwelling. Sometimes a badger occupies burrows dug and abandoned by porcupines. When feeding, the Sunda stink badger uses its snout to find and dig out worms and insects from the soft soil.

Feeds on worms, insects and caterpillars, carrion and plant food.

Palawan Stink Badger
Palawan Stink Badger
(Mydaus marchei)

Occurs on two Philippine islands, Palawan and Busuanga, in grassy plains and agricultural land.

The length of his body with the head is 32-46 cm, tail - 15-45 mm, body weight 2.5 kg.

Leads a nocturnal lifestyle, and during the day sleeps in a hole that he digs himself. Unlike the Indonesian stink badger, it can also be found during the daytime. Burrows are not deep (less than a meter). When threatened, the badger most often pretends to be dead. In this state, the animal allows itself to be taken in hand. The other form is defensive, releasing a foul-smelling fluid from the anal glands, like a skunk. Of the sense organs, smell and hearing are best developed, vision is weaker.

Feeds on worms, insects, caterpillars, carrion and plant matter.

Skunks | Our pets | Handbook

Introduction to Skunks

It may seem confusing to many that there are people who voluntarily keep skunks as pets. We've all heard about its odorous anal glands, which secrete a caustic substance from persistent unpleasant smell, that there is unpleasant - very smelly. This substance is the weapon of skunks, and despite this they are kept as pets. It turns out there is nothing strange about this. Skunks are getting very tame, playful and affectionate and usually does not use their fighting arsenal against the owner or his family. Of course, no need to risk scaring or annoying the animal even unintentionally.

Skunks use their weapons only in case of danger, and warning of its possible use by raising the tail and turning back. A disgusting yellowish liquid shoots out in the distance up to 4 meters and accurately hits the enemy, mainly in the eyes, which may cause temporary blindness.

Of course, it is possible to surgically remove the glands, as is done with ferrets. But this is a very painful operation for the animal and difficult for the veterinarian. In many countries, such an operation is only allowed due to medical necessity, otherwise the Protection Act animals prohibits such interference.


The skunk is quite a cute animal.

Skunks belong to the skunk family ( Mephitidae ), which includes four genera: pig-nosed / pig-nosed skunks ( Conepatus ), striped skunks ( Mephitis ), spotted skunks ( Spilogale ) and recently added to the skunk family stink badgers ( Mydaus ).

Pig-nosed, white-backed skunk.

Skunks live in South and North America. In the territories Europe, Asia and Australia skunks are not found. And only smelly badgers, until recently belonging to the marten family, and not to skunk family, found on the islands of Indonesia. Skunks don't may be confused with other animals. White streaks or spots on dark back, upturned fluffy tail, they immediately make it clear what it is skunk.

Striped skunk with a rare brown coloration.

All skunks have a thick, rough coat, strong build, short limbs, fluffy tail, powerful claws adapted to dig the ground. Skunks have poor eyesight, but they have an excellent sense of smell and hearing. Spotted skunks are the smallest, weighing from 200 grams to 1 kilograms. The largest pig-nosed / pig-nosed skunks, their weight reaches 9 kilograms. Adult striped skunks weigh between 1. 2 up to 5.3 kilograms. The length of their bodies is 28-40 centimeters, tail 17-30 centimeters (tail can sometimes be longer). males usually slightly larger than females. The variation in weight is due to the fact that skunks lose some weight in winter.

In winter, skunks actually go into a shallow hibernation. Their activity at this time is very low, they hardly eat, feed on subcutaneous fat, and sit out in nests. They make nests and shelters in rocky crevices, in earthen burrows that they dig themselves or capture strangers.

Skunks are solitary animals. Only during hibernation of the female can winter several pieces in a nest or with their own, born cubs in spring.

Skunks are omnivorous predators, hunting at dusk or at night. So how much of their diet is insects, and skunks can catch and eat mice, they benefit the agricultural au pair. They can approach human housing, ruining chicken coops, beehives and climbing dustbins. In many American states it is quite normal to tame and keeping skunks in the yards of houses. This tradition is believed to have started from the Indians. In the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century, skunks were hunted for their furs.

In nature, skunks live 2-3 years, because of the harsh winters and predators are serious tests especially for young animals. In captivity, well cared for, they live up to 5-7 years, often longer.

Home skunk housekeeping and domestication

a breeder who has proven himself on a good side. But before purchase, you need to decide on housing for the animal and who you need a male or female.

How to completely get rid of the specific there is no smell of an unoperated animal in the room perhaps it is better to arrange housing for the skunk in the yard. This quite simply. It is necessary to arrange a lair like a cave or a vast hollow, feeder, put a bowl for drinking water, throw a handful of hay. The territory of the skunk must be fenced off with a low metal mesh in order to he could not go to study the neighbor's plot.

Skunks like to hide in caves of all kinds.

You can keep a skunk in your house/apartment like a cat. Even it is also necessary to accustom to the tray. It is only necessary to provide a lair, otherwise, your sofa or favorite chair can become his sleeping place. A lair in the form of a cave or a hollow should be arranged in a large cage, lined with straw or hay. The skunk can be locked in a cage, so as not to get in the way. But you can't keep it there for long.

Skunk is not fussy and cannot climb high. So whatever above 1.5 meters from the floor is not available for him. And here is everything below should be safe for him and not valuable to you or such that he could not spoil.

Skunks are inquisitive, sociable, friendly and people. They equally need both freedom and contact with people, do not tolerate loud noise and violence. You have to tame them, just like all animals, affection and encouragement with treats. They can even be tamed to harness and leash. You can play with them just like with cats. Skunks don't rodents, and often a plush toy becomes their favorite for a long time remains intact. The domestic skunk gets along easily with children and even makes friends with them.

You may need to teach your pet to play cat toys and that he sleeps only in his lair. Is not difficult, will require a little of your patience. And make time for your the skunk that lives in the house, that lives in the yard, needs a lot. Living with humans, skunks change their nocturnal lifestyle and become active during the day.

Important information

If you do not want your home (living in house / apartment) the male skunk became a father in the future, it is better than him castrate. An uncastrated male annually in early spring during the rut will look for a female, run, rub against the floor and furniture, and leave bad smell everywhere. A castrated male will not do this. In addition, it will become completely tame and affectionate.

The female behaves a little calmer during the rut. Specialists it is advised to mate the female in the first two ruts. Do not covered in the first two rutting of females may occur undesirable, harmful to health hormonal changes.

This information will help you decide who to choose in as a pet, male or female.

Skunk care


It is possible even necessary, but it is necessary to ensure that the curious animal does not run away to foreign territory, as he may not return or cause trouble for neighbors, for which you will have to answer.

It is necessary to walk a skunk on a leash (like a dog) in a distance from walking places for other animals (ferrets, cats, dogs) and in a place without garbage and food waste.

Keep in mind that a skunk will start digging when walking.


Household skunk should be taught to wash. Stroking and affectionately while talking, start washing your paws in the sink with warm water. When the skunk begins to take this procedure calmly, then, if desired, and opportunities, you can let him swim in a filled bath. Necessary be careful not to get water in your ears. After the skunk shakes off, it can be wiped off with a towel.

Ear cleaning

Skunk gladly allows you to clean his ears. Clean ears with cotton chopsticks for prevention twice a month and after bathing.

Nail clipping

Backyard skunk does not need to have its nails clipped. Living in an apartment it will be necessary not only to cut the claws (just above the pink filling tubular claws), but also grind them with a file. Not sharpened claws the skunk will cling to carpeting, which will be harmful to claws and for coatings. If you cut the claw more than necessary, then may bleed. Treat the wound with a strong solution of potassium permanganate or hydrogen peroxide.

Combing wool

shed. If you don't want winter fur to pollute your home, comb it out with a special comb, as often as possible, until the molt will roll. The rest of the time combing the skunk is not Necessarily.

Foot treatment

It is best to treat soles with sea buckthorn oil. Do it is necessary after washing or when you notice dry skin.

Feeding skunks

Skunks are omnivores. In nature, their diet is diverse. Because of their physiological characteristics, it is more convenient for them to get insects, larvae and earthworms from the ground and forest floor. To this basic diet they add moles, small rodents, bird eggs, lizards, snakes, frogs, salamanders, mushrooms, berries, nuts, roots and leaves of plants, and even sometimes carrion.

Feed skunks at home the way they eat on freedom is difficult, but to provide them with everything necessary for health not difficult.

Skunks are beggars and gluttons, they should not be overfed, and treats best given as a reward or when they are boosted to beg.

Young animals need more food than adults.

Feed skunks 1 to 6 months of age 4 times a day 150-200 grams of feed; aged 6 to 12 months - 3 times a day for 100-150 grams; over the age of 12 months - 2 times a day for 150 grams.

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