Saturday, December 24, 2011

How to Feed a Pet Skunk


If you own a pet skunk, or are thinking about getting a pet skunk you will hear a lot of conflicting information in regards to feeding.  This is in part because very few studies have been done on skunk nutrition, and as well because all food companies that make skunk food (there are only a few) will tell you that their food is the "best".  

In the past a lot of skunk owners have fed cat food or ferret food to their skunk, but both are too fatty and contain too much protein. Skunks fed these diets often became obese.  Many skunk owners now consider feeding a top quality, grain free, dog food to be better (do not contain BHA, BHT, by-products, corn gluten meal, or brewers rice).  However the concern is that the skunk still requires taurine - an ingredient not found in dog food.

Skunk owners can purchase taurine in powder, liquid, or tablets. Taurine should be feed at 200 mg per day. Calcium supplements are also a good idea.  Both can be purchased at a health food store (some pet stores may carry these too).

A skunk's diet should be roughly 65 % meat and dairy products, 30% vegetables, and 5% fruit.

Vegetables can be fresh or frozen (and thawed), canned vegetables tend to be lower in nutritional value.  Skunks should not have asparagus, onions, or iceberg lettuce.

Fruits is safe for skunks except for grapes and avocados. Fruit should be given only two or three times a week, not daily.

Skunks can eat nuts, excluding salted nuts, almonds offer a good source of Vitamin E.

Pet skunks can eat eggs (boiled – shell and all), and most dairy products (including goats milk) except whole milk, cream, and high fat cheeses. You should not feed your skunk yogurt with artificial sweeteners (aspartame), which are often found in low-fat yogurts.

Skunk owners can also purchase crickets, mealworms from pet supply stores. Live crickets may escape so most owners prefer to buy dried crickets.  You can dig up worms for your skunk, but most people prefer to leave the worms in the garden where they are beneficial.

Skunks under 4 months of age should be fed 3-5 small meals a day, do not feed a skunk free choice, it will eat too much and become obese. Adult skunks can have 3 meals a day.  For many skunk owners this means feeding early in the evening, later at night, early in the morning.  Watch to see how much your skunk can eat in 20 minutes time, and remove uneaten food after that.  Monitor your skunk for weight loss or gain and overall signs of eating right.

Skunks are natural foragers, if you leave any food out they will find it, and can open cupboard doors while searching for food.  Keep chocolate of of a skunk's reach it is toxic.

Skunks should have their food and water in stainless steel or ceramic bowls that are built so they do not tip or spill.



Indications of a Skunk with a Diet Problem:

A fat skunk is not a healthy skunk.  You can reduce the amount of food you feed in the winter as they naturally would find less to eat in the winter and this will help reduce the skunk's weight.

A skunk that is skinny and drags its hind legs could be suffering from a lack of calcium.

Hair loss, particularly on the back and tail, indicate an improper diet (or mites).

A skunk with vision problems may be suffering from a lack of taurine.

If a skunk's white fur looks yellow this may be a sign of poor care, or a poor diet.

Further Reading on Feeding and Care for Skunks

16 comments:

  1. Great tips from you. I believe those who are interested to skunk would love to get this tips. Thanks.

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  2. I was wondering what skunks are but after watching the video I know now what animals they are. I hope this helps any one with skunks as their pets.

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  3. I have friends who own Skunks and Ferrets and they seem to love them. I am crazy about dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and dog clothes and pet accessories - the nicer the better! I am really thinking of looking after an anomal like a skunk, but I am not sure if we have access to them in the UK. Any comments?

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  4. Information very helpful for giving good feed to skunk .
    I wants to buy skunk as pet. Can you tell me Is skunk is intelligent?

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  12. I'm not sure, but do you know if peanut butter would be considered a healthy thing for a skunk to eat? Maybe as the occassional treat?

    When I was younger we had a pet skunk and my dad gave her peanut butter. She absolutely loved it!

    thanks for educating me and for bringing back some long lost, but very fond memories :O)

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  13. I never thought that having a pet skunk could be that cool. I only have cats and dogs as my pet. Maybe one of these days I'll consider buying a skunk.
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  14. Despite what your pet store or breeder may have told you, cat food or dog food is not a good diet for skunks...
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