How to Feed and Care for a Pet Skunk Correctly
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How to Feed and Care for a Pet Skunk Correctly

How to care for a pet skunk. What food is safe to feed a pet skunk. What can skunks eat? How to feed my pet skunk. What human foods are okay to feed to a skunk? Can I feed my skunk cat food? Can I feed dog food to a skunk? Facts about keeping a pet skunk. Do skunks need their nails trimmed? What food is best for skunks?

Skunks are becoming a popular exotic pet. They are not allowed as pets everywhere so before you become too committed to the idea of getting a pet skunk be sure to check your area laws in regards to keeping these exotic pets.  Here we are going to talk a bit about basic feeding of a pet skunk as this is a problem many skunk owners have.

Skunks are nocturnal, they tend to be most active in the evening, though the night, and some are also active in the morning. As for their behavior it is very much like that of an over curious ferret. They can climb and will try to open cupboards if they smell something yummy on the other side. As such you will also want to make sure that the personality and behavior aspects of a pet skunk fit with your expectations of having a skunk as an exotic pet.

Note:  You cannot catch wild skunks and keep them as pets, skunks are known to carry rabies so this is a risk in addition to the fact that catching and keeping any wild animal as a pet is generally illegal.

photo source - this skunk looks like he needs his nails trimmed.

How to Feed a Skunk Correctly

Correctly feeding pet skunks is usually the biggest problem for pet owners. Many people feed skunks cat food, but cat food is too fatty and contains too much protein. Skunks quickly become obese on cat food. As such a top quality, grain free, dog food is better (top quality dog foods will not contain BHA, BHT, by-products, corn gluten meal, or brewers rice).

The problem with dog food is that it does not contain taurine which skunks require. You can buy taurine in powder, liquid, or tablets. Taurine should be feed at 200 mg per day. Calcium supplements are also a good idea.

The skunks diet should be 5 % fruit, 30 % vegetables, and 65 % meat and dairy products.

The vegetables can be fresh or thawed from frozen, you should not feed asparagus, onions, or iceberg lettuce.

Most fruits are fine except for grapes and avocados. Fruits should be given only twice a week, not daily.

You can feed your skunk cooked meat, chicken is the most natural for them.  Never feed them fat.

Skunks can have nuts, almonds offer a good source of Vitamin E.

Skunks can have eggs (soft boiled – shell and all) , and most dairy products except high fat milk and high fat cheeses. Avoid feeding any yogurts with artificial sweeteners (aspartame).

You can also buy crickets, meal worms, and so forth for your skunk. Live crickets may escape so you may prefer to buy dried crickets.

When the skunk is younger it needs to have 3-5 small meals, you cannot feed a skunk free choice, it will eat too much and get fat. For most people this means feeding early in the evening, later at night, early in the morning, and another meal later in the morning if the skunk is still awake.

Skunks do not drink a lot of water, but should have fresh water every day.

Signs of Malnutrition in Skunks

  • Obesity is a big problem for skunks, they will appear to be too fat.
  • A skunk that is thin and drags its hind legs may be suffering from a lack of calcium.
  • A skunk that is loosing its hair may be suffering from an improper diet (or mites).
  • A skunk that is having vision problems may be suffering from a lack of taurine.
  • Yellow coloring may be a sign of poor care, or a poor diet.

Other Skunk Information

Many people keep their skunk in a large cage, letting it out for hours at a time.  They can be litter trained, and should have a litter box in their cage as well as one in the house for when they are out playing.

Skunks use their nails to eat, so should not be declawed, you may trim their nails since they will not wear down as much as if the skunk were in the wild.

Be sure to find a veterinarian in your area that is familiar with skunks.

Some people do descent their pet skunks, but this is illegal in some countries.

Other Reading

How to Get Rid of a Wild Skunk

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Comments (7)

Good to know--tho I don't expect to be doing this any time soon . . .

Ranked #4 in Pets

I have known some people who have said they knew pet owners of skunks. That is as close as I have gotten to ownership of a skunk. Your article was interesting to read.

Very informative pet care here.

We use to have a skunk that lived under the back porch of our old farmhouse. I never thought of him/her as a pet and it ate whatever it wanted. Foe=rtunately it must have liked all of us because it never took it in its head to spray any of us. Merry Christmas Brenda.

An interesting animal for a pet and looks easy to get along with. Very well elaborated tips, Brenda.

Skunks are awesome! I have seen wild, UN-descented skunks that once accustomed to people, will not spray and can be handled with some degree of safety in regards to getting sprayed. Still, -I'd prefer a descented skunk for sure!

Well composed!

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