| Pet Care Advice By Veterinarians |

Do Skunks Make Great Pets? (Explained!)



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Over the years, skunks have been portrayed as smelly animals. However, each year, more and more people decide to get skunks as their pets. What has changed?

Nowadays, skunks are actually considered exotic pets. I know at least two people who keep skunks in their homes.

In this article, I am going to talk about skunks and whether they make great pets or not. Read on to find more.

Key Takeaway

  • Skunks can make great pets for some individuals due to their friendly and playful nature, provided they are captive-bred, have had their scent glands removed, and are cared for properly.
  • While pet skunks can be affectionate and fun, they are not low-maintenance pets and require several hours of care per day, including feeding, cleaning, and training, making them a challenging pet to keep.
  • Skunks are typically docile and can tolerate humans in close proximity without aggression, but they are generally shy, nonaggressive creatures that will only defend themselves when cornered or attacked

Do Skunks Make Great Pets?

Do Skunks Make Great Pets

Yes, skunks bought from a reputable breeder make great pets. However, wild skunks are wild animals and should be respected as such. If you decide to own a pet skunk, make sure that you acquire it from a reputable breeder who can provide you with the necessary information on care and diet.

Skunks make great pets. If you love and feed your skunk properly, it will give you many years of love, entertainment, and company.

Skunks live for 12 years or longer and only develop behavioral issues such as biting in old age. This means that through its lifespan, you will have a fairly well-behaved and entertaining pet in your home.

Never release a pet skunk into the wild as it will not be able to survive.

Skunks are interesting creatures that have captured the hearts of many people. While they may seem like cuddly little balls of fur, they are actually wild animals that should be respected as such. If you’re thinking about adding a skunk to your family, there are a few things you need to know first.

For starters, skunks aren’t exactly known for being the cleanest around. They’re constantly getting into things and getting themselves dirty, which means you’ll likely be dealing with a lot of bathing.

They also have a very strong odor that can be difficult to get rid of. And if your skunk happens to spray, the smell will be even more intense says A-Z Animals.

Additionally, skunks are known for being escape artists. They’re incredibly curious creatures and love to explore, so it’s important that you have a secure enclosure for them. Otherwise, they could easily get out and get lost.

Are Pet Skunks Easy To Keep?

No, pet skunks are not easy to keep. They require a lot of care and attention, and they can be very destructive if left alone. Skunks also have a strong odor that can be difficult to get rid of. If you’re considering getting a pet skunk, make sure you’re prepared to take on the challenge.

Here are some reasons why skunks can be challenging to keep as exotic pets:

1. Pet skunks are high-maintenance

They require a lot of maintenance. They need a careful feeding routine, and in addition to cleaning up after them, you have to provide them with hours of entertainment.

Skunks are stubborn animals. This can pose a challenge when it comes to behavior management. If you are a stickler for rules and order, a skunk might not be the right pet for you.

2. They shouldn’t be left alone for too long

Their curious nature makes them prone to danger. If you have any house plants, your skunk will not only try to eat them, but they will also try to dig into the pots. Some plants can be fatal to your skunk, so keep all plants well out of reach.

If you can’t, consult your vet about your specific plant. You also need to exercise some safety around plants when walking your skunk.

3. Their diet is complicated

Meeting a skunk’s dietary requirements also takes some commitment in both time and money. Not only do they eat frequently, but they also need a diet high in taurine and calcium. This is because they are prone to bone disease and heart failure (more on this below).

Skunks are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and vegetables. However, 70% of their diet is mostly protein, and since you have to feed them twice a day, this makes pet skunks somewhat expensive to feed.

They are fine with fresh, thawed, or cooked vegetables, but never canned produce as such foods tend to be high in salt. You can also give them nuts and grains, but avoid fruits (maybe give them as a treat or avoid them altogether), and never give them chocolate.

They also need a change of fresh drinking water daily.

Do Skunks Like Being Around People?

Yes. Skunks are social animals that love to be around people. They are very playful, curious, and active. Skunks can be playful and entertaining pets, and with the right care, they will provide you with years of enjoyment.

Skunks will play with any family member. They can also get along with other pets, including cats and dogs, as long as those animals are gentle.

The bond between you and your skunk will increase the more you handle it. Besides enjoying a lot of playtime, they will happily sleep in your bed, accompany you on trips in your car, or just keep you company outside.

Skunks also love having their feet and gums rubbed because they find it pleasurable. Gum and feet rubbing also serve another purpose: it makes them easier to handle when you want to inspect their mouths or trim their nails.  

Another activity that’s pleasurable for your skunk is hair brushing. This is actually my favorite way to spend time with a skunk. They seem to enjoy it a lot and it also helps control the shedding.

A word of caution: Don’t leave your skunk in your car on a hot day as this could lead to death from heatstroke. If you play with it in the garden or yard, make sure you don’t have any plants that it can ruin. Also, seal any gaps that could act as escape holes.

Do Pet Skunks Stink?

No, pet skunks do not stink. Skunks have a bad reputation for being smelly, but this is only because they are able to spray a foul-smelling liquid when they feel threatened. If you raise a pet skunk from a young age, however, they will not spray this liquid unless they feel truly threatened or frightened. Skunks are actually very clean animals, and they spend a lot of time grooming themselves.

Interestingly, skunks don’t actually produce much of this smelly liquid. They can only spray it a few times before they need to refill their glands. This means that if you’re ever unfortunate enough to be sprayed by a skunk, the smell will eventually fade.

Many pet skunk parents choose to remove the skunk’s scent glands and therefore the sunk is no longer able to produce a foul-smelling liquid. While this means that you never have to worry about your skunk stinking up your house (or you), it also means that your skunk has no way to protect itself should it encounter a predator.

Gland removal is actually a pretty common and relatively safe procedure amongst Skunks and is usually done between two and five weeks of age. This procedure is done on skunks that are bred as pets. Wild skunks, on the other hand, should not undergo this procedure. If you find a baby wild skunk, you should either return it to its mother or take it to a wild rescue.

Are Pet Skunks Aggressive?

The answer to this question is yes and no. Pet skunks can be aggressive if they feel threatened or scared, but for the most part, they are docile creatures that love to play and cuddle. It is important to always handle them with caution, however, as even a small skunk can produce a powerful spray.

But even the most docile skunk can bite when threatened. When agitated, skunks emit different sounds such as hissing, whining, and chirping. Listen out for these sounds especially when around other pets and people, to prevent surprise attacks.

If you have children in your home, it may not be the best idea to get a pet skunk, as their playful nature can quickly turn into aggression if they feel cornered.

A skunk’s bite can spread rabies, which makes it so important to get to the hospital when one bites you. In addition, keep your skunk on a tight leash when outdoors. If it bites someone, authorities might have to intervene and seize it for rabies monitoring.

Skunks make great pets for those who are experienced animal handlers and who have plenty of space for them to roam around.

Do Pet Skunks Get Sick?

Yes. Skunks commonly suffer from health issues such as diabetes, obesity, cardiac disease, nutritional deficiency, and dental problems. You can control most of these illnesses by giving your skunk a balanced diet.

A skunk out during the day is not a problem. It is a common misconception that being out in the daytime causes confusion and disorientation. These symptoms are an indication of underlying conditioning and aren’t a result of being out in the daytime.

Taking your skunk indoors will not resolve the disorientation and confusion. A skunk with such symptoms (in addition to lethargy and difficulty balancing), needs immediate vet attention.

We’ve also mentioned rabis. Although this is rare, you should get your pet skunk vaccinated to keep it and yourself safe.

One thing that seems clear, however, is that skunks require a great deal of care and attention, and should only be adopted by those who are prepared to provide it.

Can You Potty Train a Skunk?

Yes. You can potty train a skunk but this needs to start when a skunk is still a baby. Skunks are intelligent animals and they learn quickly. The key to success is to be consistent with your skunk. Like any animal, skunks will respond better to positive reinforcement than to negative punishment.

So, whenever your skunk goes potty in the right place, be sure to give them lots of praise and treats.

Even without training, your skunk will pick a corner of your house where it feels is most natural to go potty. You can make potty training easy by letting it first identify that corner, and then set its litter box there.

It’s also important to create a designated potty area for your skunk. This can be a litter box filled with sand, wood shavings, or even newspaper. Put this potty area in a quiet corner of your home where your skunk can go without being disturbed.

Once your skunk gets used to using their designated potty area, they’ll be much less likely to have accidents elsewhere in the house.

With a little patience and consistency, you can easily potty train your skunk. Soon enough, you’ll have a well-trained pet that you can enjoy for many years to come!

Even after potty training your skunk, you should still check different corners of your house because these curious pets can sometimes get too lazy to walk to their litter box.


A: The legality of owning a skunk as a pet varies from country to country and even within different states or regions. It is important to check your local laws and regulations before considering a skunk as a pet.

Q: Do skunks make good companion animals?

A: Skunks have unique behaviors and characteristics that may not make them suitable as typical companion animals. They have their own instincts and can sometimes become aggressive or destructive if not properly cared for and trained.

Q: What are the pros of having a skunk as a pet?

A: Some advantages of having a skunk as a pet include their intelligence, curiosity, and individual personalities. Skunks can also be trained to use a litter box, just like cats.

Q: What are the cons of having a skunk as a pet?

A: Keeping a skunk as a pet can be challenging due to their natural instincts, potential for odor issues, dietary needs, and the need for a secure and enriched living environment. Skunks also require a lot of socialization and attention to prevent boredom or destructive behavior.

Q: Can you de-scent a pet skunk?

A: De-scenting a skunk (removing their ability to spray) is a common practice when keeping them as pets. However, it is important to note that removing their scent glands does not eliminate their ability to defend themselves through other means such as scratching or biting.

Q: What do skunks eat?

A: Skunks are omnivores and their diet consists of both plant material and small animals. In the wild, they may eat insects, rodents, fruits, and vegetables. As pets, it is important to provide a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.

Q: Do skunks need vaccines?

A: Skunks are susceptible to certain diseases and may require vaccinations, especially if they have been descended. It is recommended to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in exotic animals to determine the appropriate vaccinations for your pet skunk.

Q: Can skunks be litter-trained?

A: Yes, skunks can be litter-trained just like cats. They are naturally clean animals and can be taught to use a designated litter box. However, it may take some time and patience to train them properly.

Q: How long do pet skunks live?

A: The average lifespan of a pet skunk is around 10 years, although, with proper care and a healthy diet, they can live up to 15 years or even longer in some cases.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, skunks can make unique and interesting pets for the right person, known for their friendly and playful nature.

However, they come with a set of challenges that potential owners should be aware of.

They require a specific diet to stay healthy, their scent glands often need to be removed for safety, and they need plenty of space to roam and play.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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