Skunk animal<<<< Back to wild animals
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Mammalia
- Order: Carnivora
- SubOrder: Caniformia
- SuperFamily: Musteloidea
- Family: Mephitidae
- Conservation status: Least Concern
- Length: 33 - 46 cm fara coada (18 - 25inch)
- Height: 40 - 70 cm (15 - 28inch)
- Weight: 1 - 7 kg (2.5 - 15 lbs)
- Diet: Omnivore
- Speed: 16km/h (10mph)
- Predators: Owls, Coyote, Wild cats
- Sexual Maturity: 4 - 6 months
- Gestation Period: 66 days
- Lifespan: 5 - 8 years
- Litter size: 4 - 8
- Distinctive Feature: Striped fur and defensive stink gland
Skunks are highly intelligent animals, some of them are very ingenious. Many believe that only a crazy man can live with a skunk - the truth is that skunks are not for everyone. They can live up to 20 years; and they're not cats or dogs, you should think well before you make such long term commitment. The scientific name is Mephitis Mephitis, meaning "hazardous gas".
If you decide to get a skunk, you must request the consent of the department of wildlife control or domestic animals in the city that you live - in some areas requires authorization. Once you have their approval, find a reputable breeder that deals with skunk breeding for at least 5 years. Don't go into the woods to pick up one, let the wilderness be wild. Skunks have been domesticated for more than 200 years, the ones bred have the glands that secrete that characteristic odor removed at the age of 4-5 weeks.
Skunks can be brown, white, yellow, greenish, black and all the shades in between. All have distinctive and charming white stripes. They are spread in North America, South America and Southeast Asia.
Skunks are omnivores, eating both plants and animals, depending on the season. They feed on insects and larvae, earthworms, small rodents, salamanders, frogs, snakes, moles and eggs. Also, they eat berries, roots, leaves, mushrooms and nuts.
Till they grow and you're able to make available the entire house to them, find a place to hold the kit. Skunks are very curious by nature - they relentlessly explore and the kits can easily get hurt or lost. Put locks on all cupboards doors, place the potted plants somewhere aloft and keep your clothes in closets so that the skunk wont nest in your socks.
You will find that skunks are easier to train to use a box for their needs, than most animals. They will use a box from a corner of their choice, might not be the corner you want, but, once they learn, fill the box with simple clay or newsprint. Skunks will not use a fragrant litter or with lumps.
The length varies from 30 to 70 cm and weight varies, depending on the species, from 0.5 kg to 4 kg. Their fur is usually black with white stripes, legs are short and muscular, tail is long and fluffy.
They have specific anal glands, that eliminate a strong odor, keeping the predators away. And for the ones that know some chemistry ...
The fluid secreted by the anal glands is composed mainly of thiol compounds with a low molecular weight, (E)-2-butene-1thiol, 3-methyl-1-butanethiol, and 2-quinolinemetanetiol and their thioester acetates. These compounds are detectable at concentrations of only 2 parts per million.
If you buy a kit, hold it in your arms as much as possible- the longer you hold in your arms a baby skunk, the nicer it will be later.
You can not train a skunk like any other animal. These funny furballs will scratch the carpet, will open the refrigerator door, will pull the covers off the bed while you sleep or will drag all your clothes in the closet or under the bed to sleep on them - if you don't find your wardrobe in place, look under the bed or where your skunk sleeps and you will find the missing wardrobe. Also, skunks will ransack the garbage, will dig your potted plants, will pull everything off the table - will make you laugh. Discipline comes down to a matter of love and patience - if you hit a skunk, it will never forget nor forgive.
Skunks are not recommended for families with small children.
Skunks give birth only once a year, in late April or early May. The kits will move away from the mother only in the first or second week of June.
Skunks are omnivores. Don't feed them cat or ferret food, because these are too high in fat and proteins for their digestive apparatus. In their diet, skunks need, daily, food with low protein, fibers, vegetables, small amounts of fruits, carbohydrates and a few drops of olive oil. Feed them 4 times a day until the age of 2 months, then once a day. An adult skunks diet should not contain more than 150 calories per day. Do not ever feed your skunk raw meat, because of their slow metabolism, skunks can not digest properly.
If you want to spay or neuter your skunks, you must do so before the age of 3-4 months. They can become very restless if they are in heat.
Skunks need all the shots dogs and cats need. They can get canine or feline distemper. Also, skunks need to be treated regularly against intestinal worms.
Did you know that:
The skunk specific odor can be detected by humans from a distance of 2 km?