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Misc. Skunk Questions

Dear Sophie,

What noises do skunks make and what do they mean?

Sophie says,

There are many individual sounds that skunks can make. Here are some of the most common. When we are feeling affectionate, we make a very soft sound with our tongue. When we are exploring, we make a snuffling sound like heavy breathing. When we are scared, we make squealing, shrieking, and screaming sounds. Some skunks also make chirping sounds or pig like grunts when scared. When we are angry, we growl and make hissing sounds much like our wild cousins hiss and stomp before they spray. The volume of these sounds will differ from skunk to skunk from very low to moderately loud. None of these sounds are as loud as a dog bark and would not be disruptive to a household.
Sophie has been told that she has a particularly loud shriek when annoyed. Sophie has also been accused of snoring.

Dear Sophie,

I have always wanted a pet skunk. I am a cat person and share my house with 4 cats. Would a baby skunk & cats learn to adapt with each other. The cats are used to adapting to newly introduced members of the family, they do not always like it, but are never cruel to the new cat, but not sure about a skunk. Can the two species live in the same household?

Sophie says,

Yes, the two species can live together in the same household. How well they will get along will be determined by the personalities of both the skunk and the cats. Skunks can have a variety of dispositions. Some are solitary like their cousin the wild skunk, some are sociable to other skunks and other domestic pets in the household. In between is every variation you can imagine. Cats are agile and should be able to get away from the skunk fairly easy.
If you adopt a skunk that has been raised around cats things should go well. If you get a baby skunk, it will depend on its temperament. Getting a skunk is a long term commitment. Please do more research before you decide to adopt. A good way to get more information is to join a group of skunk owners and speak directly to people who have first hand knowledge of living with cats and skunks. Yahoo Groups host a number of Skunk Groups to join.

Dear Sophie,

Can you have any other animals while having a skunk? And if so what kind of animals can you have?

Sophie says,

It depends on both the personality of the skunk and the other animals involved. Many skunks have been maimed or killed by dogs. There are also many cases where skunks live in the same house with dogs and cats, even sleeping with them on occasion. For small animals that would be prey to a skunk, such as rats or mice, they must be kept out of reach for their safety. If you do introduce a skunk into a family that includes other pets, make sure the skunk has a room to himself. Skunks need a quiet place to sleep. It is never recommended that you cage a skunk, they are highly intelligent creatures who need to roam about. Make sure any other animals will not have access to the skunk while you are out, as it is usually while unsupervised that bad things happen. Also make sure you read everything available on living with skunks so you make an informed choice.
Sophie's Mommie and Daddy have two hedgehogs. They used to have two dobermans who have passed away. Mommie keeps the hedgehogs out of reach because they don't like to play with the skunks. Sophie tried to roll them around the floor. The dobermans were kept inside at night in a separate room and were scared of the skunks.

Dear Sophie,

Are skunks domesticated?

Sophie says,

Skunks have been bred by humans for almost 100 years. First for their fur and for the last 40+ years, to be companion animals. An animal is usually considered domestic after 20 years of being bred by humans. There are an estimated 6 million skunks as pets in the United States even though they are only legal in about half the country. There are also clubs for parents of skunks and skunk shows where you will find not just black and white but every color imaginable. Sophie considers herself not only domestic but quite sophisticated. She travels with her Mommy and Daddy and the other skunks and enjoys a dip in the pool now and then. She likes to sleep in their bed and certainly considers herself one of the family.

Dear Sophie,

I would love to adopt a skunk. I have sugar gliders and pet rats. Do you think a skunk would get along with my other pets?
J.P., Addison

Sophie says,

A skunk is a predatory animal. For the safety of your other pets, you would have to keep them in different parts of your home. Also, you need to make sure it is legal to own a skunk in the state you live in before getting one. At this time, many states have outlawed skunks or have restrictions on bringing one in from another state. Sophie hopes one day these outdated laws based on ignorance will be replaced by new ones so that all domesticated skunks will be protected.


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