Skunks are able to live indoors with humans just like cats or dogs, but keeping them as pets is still not common. Although the idea of a skunk may repulse some people thinking of a pungent smell, many people choose to keep a domesticated skunk as a pet.
Currently, it is legal to own a pet skunk in 17 states. Iowa, South Dakota, and Wyoming allow you to have a pet skunk with no permit. Florida, Indiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin allow for skunk ownership subject to additional regulations and permitting, including requiring an application, routine home inspection, or fines and fees necessary for proper licensing. Some parts of Kentucky and New York also allow you to own a pet skunk with a permit as well.
Domesticated skunks are popular pet options in the states where they are legal. For more than 60 years, domestic skunks have been bred and are very different animals from wild skunks. It is essential never to try to capture a wild skunk and turn it into a pet. Wild skunks are not suitable for pet owners.
The biggest difference between a wild skunk and a domesticated skunk is the lack of scent glands in skunks that will live as pets. When baby skunk pets are about three weeks old, they are de-scented. This procedure removes the gland that produces the pungent odor skunks are known for. This simple procedure is easy to do, but there is some debate about whether de-scenting is humane since it leaves the skunk defenseless if it encounters a predator. Because of this, pet skunks should never be allowed outdoors and should be kept primarily in the house where they will be safe.
Pet skunks can be great additions to the family and provide years of companionship. Of course, even if you live in a state where pet skunks are legal, it is good to understand the specific laws and regulations surrounding pet ownership. Be sure you know this delicate animal's specialized care to keep a pet skunk. There is limited understanding of pet skunks by most veterinarians. Because there is conflicting advice on pet skunk care, it is helpful to get many different opinions from veterinarians and pet skunk organizations when making decisions about your skunk's medical care.
Keeping your pet skunk healthy is essential for a long and happy life. Skunks eat a more varied diet than most household pets. In the wild, skunks will eat insects and fruit. In a home, you should try to offer plenty of protein in the form of fish, chicken, or beans. It is vital to give your skunk plenty of fresh and organic fruits and vegetables such as corn, carrots, leafy greens, peas, and bananas. It is important to remember that skunks have a voracious appetite, so you must make sure not to overfeed them. Overfeeding can lead to obesity for your pet skunk.
It is essential to provide your pet skunk with safe and secure housing, especially if they are kept outdoors. Skunks will attract neighborhood dogs and wild predators, so you must keep your pet safe. Skunks are also nearsighted, which makes them more susceptible to being run over by a vehicle. Inside, a large cage that provides enough room to sleep, play, and eat is perfect for a skunk. The skunk can be let out of the cage or trained to walk on a leash with a harness, as long as you are always there to supervise your pet. Skunks can be housebroken by teaching them to use a litter box in the corner of a room.
|Kentucky||Varies by county|
|South Carolina||Unclear||It is illegal to buy, sell, or import skunks in South Carolina. However, current law does not appear to prohibit the keeping of skunks obtained through other means|
|Florida||Legal with permit|
|Indiana||Legal with permit|
|Michigan||Legal with permit||Skunk must be bred in Michigan and live in outside cage|
|New Hampshire||Legal with permit|
|New Jersey||Legal with permit|
|New Mexico||Legal with permit|
|New York||Legal with permit||Allowed in limited areas only|
|Ohio||Legal with permit|
|Oklahoma||Legal with permit||Must have import permit and health certificate|
|Oregon||Legal with permit||Must be imported from out of state and have import permit and health certificates|
|Pennsylvania||Legal with permit|
|West Virginia||Legal with permit|
|Wisconsin||Legal with permit|
|South Dakota||Legal||Limited to one skunk per person|
|Wyoming||Legal||Classified as predatory animals, may be kept as pets without a license|
|District of Columbia||Illegal|