Skunks are by nature gentle and playful creatures. They only put up their defenses when they feel threatened or mad. It’s smart not to tease a skunk, even a broken-in pet skunk unless you want a stinking faceful of their signature stink bomb. If you’ve mastered the art of keeping a skunk as a pet and want a bit more challenge, why not try breeding them? Below are a few things you need to know before taking the next step in skunk care.
But before taking the virtual plunge, it is important to mention that having a skunk for a pet is very different from petting a cat or dog as they have an awful stench that makes it impossible to manage once they grow up and what better example of Looney Tunes character Pepe Le Pew in this regard so before taking the next step regarding skunk care, simply read on.
Having a skunk as a pet is legal in most states; there are only a few exceptions to this rule. Some states require you to get a permit before letting you own one. The permit will cost you a minimal fee and may have to be renewed regularly. Some states impose rules on the number of skunks you are allowed to breed and the type of species you are allowed to rear. It’s a good idea to check out your local laws pertaining to the care, and breeding of your pet skunk. You should also be alert in any changes to these laws. This will minimize the chances of getting into a lot of legal hassles later.
Before breeding your pet skunk, you’ll need to find a suitable pair. They should be mature, at least a year old and free from diseases. Females are generally smaller than male skunks. Males are also more aggressive. In the wild, female skunks can be observed making nests in the spring. A good way to tell whether your pet skunk is a male or a female would be to have it lie on its back and look for a bump right where the male reproductive organ should be. If it has a small, white bump, it’s a male. The absence of such a bump means that the skunk is a female.
Getting them in the mood.
Skunks typically mate in the early spring, usually in the late April and early May. Males in the wild usually inseminate several females during mating season and take no part in the raising of the young. They should be removed from the breeding enclosure once mating is over. Leaving them in there could give the female undue stress and lead to bouts of aggression. Pregnant females will need to be fed a wide variety of food like fruit, eggs, and meat.
Once pregnant, you’ll need to set up a suitable den for your pregnant female skunk. The den needs to be warm and comfortable. They will give birth to four to seven kits after about sixty-six days. Mother skunks are extremely protective of their brood so you may want to minimize your handling of her kits. Newly born skunk kits are blind and covered with soft downy fur. They will exclusively rely on their mother’s milk as their main form of nourishment or the first two months of their life. You can start ‘borrowing’ them from their mother once they get weaned from their mother.