What to Feed Your Pet Skunk
Can I Have a Pet Skunk?
Whether or not you can have a pet skunk depends on your state and state's regulations, so be sure to do your research. If you are lucky enough to be able to care for a pet skunk, here's everything you need to know about feeding them.
Feeding Pet Skunks
If I was a skunk, I'd write about all of the foods I'd want to eat, but not much about the foods I'd need to eat. Pet skunks have the same problem of overeating just as we do. Fortunately for the pet skunk, the owner is in control of the dietary choices; otherwise an overweight skunk risks dying an early death just like an overweight person.
Just like us, a pet skunk instinctively prefers high-calorie food that contains lots of fat and sugar. This is because, in the wild, you never know where your next meal is coming from, so you had to load up on as many calories as you could. But a pet skunk (much like the modern human) has lower energy requirements and so it needs a varied diet in order to keep healthy and happy.
Pet skunks will eat just about anything. Since they are still relatively new in the pet world, how to best feed a pet skunk is still the subject of some debate and probably will be as long as people care about keeping skunks happy and healthy.
It used to be thought pet skunks could live on dog or cat food, with the occasional people food table scraps as a treat. Although the skunk will like this "diet," it is far too full of fat and protein for a healthy diet. It would be like raising a child on a diet of only hamburgers, fried chicken and water. They wouldn't be too healthy for too long.
Pet skunks need a mix of fruits, vegetable matter, carbohydrates and protein like we do. And don't be taken in by those begging faces, pet skunks will eat even when they are full. (Sounds like anyone you know?)
Food for Pet Skunks
A basic morning meal for your pet skunk adult can consist of:
- ¼ to ½ cup thawed frozen vegetables (no asparagus!)
- 1 tablespoon cooked chicken or turkey
- 2 teaspoons of cooked rice, oats or cereal
And their evening meal can be:
- ½ to ¾ cup fresh or cooked veggies
- 2 tablespoons of cooked chicken or turkey
- 1 to 2 teaspoons of nuts, cooked grains or bread
- 1 teaspoon of yogurt
Kits (baby skunks) less than four months old need to eat four times a day (like puppies do). They only need about 3 tablespoons worth of food per meal. The food can be a combination of a third protein, a third carbohydrate, and a third vegetable. More skunk recipes can be found at Skunk Haven and at Owners Of Pet Skunks (OOPS).
What Not to Feed to a Skunk
These foods are bad for skunks (even though the skunks will eat them anyway!)
- cat food
- asparagus (known to cause seizures)
- processed meats like hot dogs or lunchmeats
- bacon or bacon fat
- fried foods
Are There Any Commercially Available Skunk Foods?
Yes, there are commercial skunk diets available, but they have to be specially ordered directly from the manufacturer. One of the most popular is from the Exotic Nutrition Pet Company's Skunk Diet, and they also make skunk nutritional supplements, and a canned insect diet for any protein-craving exotic pet. It might be easier for you to make the skunk's meals yourself.
How to Care for a Pet Skunk
Since keeping skunks as pets is a relatively new phenomenon, you have to be careful when handling them. First, make sure you get a skunk from a skunk breeder, do not just pull one out of the wilderness. Second, make sure you get them spayed and neutered and descented, as this will make it much easier for you to have one as a pet.
So long as you feed your skunk a healthy diet and you keep them active, they can live up to ten years. However, like humans, they are susceptible to becoming obese along with all of the complications associated with having too much body fat.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2007 RenaSherwood