When it comes to keeping exotic pets, it might not get stranger than a pet skunk. Caring for a skunk requires some effort, and it needs to exercise. As a part of its activities, can you walk a pet skunk?
You can walk a pet skunk as often as you like. To ensure its safety, you should put it on a leash when walking it outdoors. Skunks are explorative, and they may get into trouble if you aren’t careful with them.
This article discusses the possibility of keeping a skunk as a house pet and whether you can walk a pet skunk. I also look into how okay it is to walk a skunk on a leash.
Can You Keep a Skunk as a House Pet?
A skunk is an unusual choice for a house pet, but you can keep it as one. Skunks have a bad rap because of their pungent spray, but they can be enjoyable household pets. Before you decide to have a pet skunk, here are some things you should know:
- Domesticated skunks are different from wild skunks.
It is inadvisable and illegal in some states to keep wild skunks as pets. Domesticated skinks are known to be loving to humans and docile. These traits exist because these skunks have been bred in captivity for almost 60 years.
Another difference is in the scent glands. While wild skunks retain their glands throughout their lives, domesticated skunks lose theirs early in life. They are “de-scented” between two to five weeks of age, but before they get to six months.
- Skunks are high-maintenance pets
One look at a baby skunk (kit or kitten) with its soft ears and the white stripe running up its nose will melt your heart. However, taking that kit home and caring for it is not as easy as taking in a cat or dog.
For a healthy and happy skunk, you need to put in a lot of work. Kits need a lot of cuddling and care in their early periods, and they have a nippy stage like puppies. Potty training and skunk-proofing your house are tasking endeavors.
- Pet skunks are illegal in some states.
Presently, only 17 states in the US allow pet skunks, and the rules vary by state. The states and some of their additional rules are below:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- Oregon—owners can bring their pet skunks when they move into the state, but no one can sell skunks within the state.
- South Dakota—there is a limit of one skunk per person.
- West Virginia
For many of these states, skunks are legal only if you buy them from a breeder with a permit, a non-profit skunk organization, or a licensed animal shelter.
- Skunks (kits) are only available for purchase in the springtime: it’s the natural mating season for skunks.
- Not all skunks are black
While most skunks are black with white stripes, they come in different colors and patterns. Skunks also come in these colors: apricot, champagne, chocolate, lavender, and smoke.
Spotted skunks are smaller, often weighing between one to three pounds, while most striped varieties weigh 14 pounds.
- The nature of skunks can make training difficult
Skunks are as graceful as pet dogs and as friendly as cats: they lack the amenable qualities of both species. They are headstrong, stubborn, prone to mischief, and destructive if you leave them without supervision.
With their claws, skunks can open drawers, cabinets, and doors. They can get into your fridge and eat everything in it. A skunk may flatten itself into the smallest corner to avoid being seen by you.
Since they like soft items like towels, blankets, and sweaters, you will often find these items missing. Your skunk will steal them for their sleeping den, even if they already have a soft bed.
- You can potty train skunks, and they will need multiple litter boxes spread across your house.
- Skunks can transmit rabies
There is no vaccine for rabies in skunks, which makes people very wary of skunks. A skunk can carry the rabies virus without showing symptoms or dying for some time. If your pet skunk bites someone, immediately take it for a rabies test.
In addition to these facts, de-scenting a skunk does not eliminate its odor. It will still retain a body odor, and that’s normal. The first year of raising a pet skunk will be the most expensive because of its purchase and medical care—spaying can cost up to $250.
Can You Walk a Pet Skunk?
Skunks are highly active and curious creatures. In their natural habitat, they are crepuscular—primarily active at dusk and dawn. One way to provide the stimulation and exercise your pet skunk needs is to take it for walks.
A skunk out for a walk with you is a magnet for attention. Your choice of a pet often surprises people, and they will certainly ask if you have de-scented it (although they never get this term right).
Because of how dangerous it is for pet skunks to be out on their own, you must ensure to secure it adequately when you are not home. A large dog kennel in the house or a large playpen outside is ideal for keeping it safe.
Skunks dislike being caged, so ensure that you only use these measures for short periods. Most people prepare a room in the house for their pet skunk, and the room has their chew toys
Is It Okay to Walk a Skunk on a Leash?
Besides getting lost and ending up defenseless in the wild, pet skunks have moving cars as their most significant hazard. Skunks like to explore their surrounding, and there are more exciting things to see when out on a walk.
To avoid your pet running into oncoming traffic or bounding away, never to return, you can take it out on a leash or harness. It is a safe way to provide enrichment and exercise for your skunk.