Pet skunks

You gotta admit, skunks are cute! But as a pet? I had a coworker who was born in 1953, and she said she had a pet (de-scented) skunk when she was a kid. My current officemate is a little older than that, and she said she had a pet skunk as a child. My sister was born in '53 (after her, my parents thought a loooong time before they had another kid! :stuck_out_tongue: ) and, while she never had a pet skunk, she got her photo in the newspaper one Halloween in her skunk costume.

Was there a fad in the mid-to-late-'50s for pet skunks? Or for skunks in general other than pets? If so, how did it start?

I don’t know about the fad aspect, but IIRC rabies vaccines don’t always “take” in animals like skunks, coons, etc. Dangerous.

Pepe La Pew?

Actually, People kept a lot of odd pets when I was a kid (I turned four in 1950) I went to school with two boys whose dad was known as Cougar Martin.
They had a number of skunks, a raccoon, lots of rabbits, of course the cougar (don’t be fooled, it WASN"T tame!) and two bear cubs, until they got too big to play with.
They also had a bunch of tamed wild birds. I remember a quail and a crow, but they had probably 30 birds in cages.

It was fun to go play at their house, of course, I probably could have been maimed or worse at any given moment.

Since it’s now illegal to keep wildlife as pets, You just don’t see such thing any more.

Actually, a lot of people still keep skunks as pets. If they are properly vaccinated and had their scent glands removed they are wonderful entertaining pets for those who have enough time to care for the needs of an exotic. Important to remember is to aqquire your kit as a young as possible after being weaned; and training your skunk to become diurnal instead of nocturnal. They easily litter trained, and are opportunistic omnivores. You may need a class c wildlife permit depending on your state’s regulations. In many states exotics are not permitted at all so be careful and look it up.

I have a co-worker with a pet skunk. He has mentioned a couple things about his skunk that would make me reconsider having one as a pet and I am a collector of skunk objects. You have to be carefull running about bare foot, his skunk will mistake your toes for fat juicy worms and he will try to bite them. It’s the same with dangling fingers too. You can’t leave anything edible laying around, skunks will try to tear open any and all packaging to get at the goodies. They should not eat dairy products, the will get a nasty case of the shits. Skunks also like to burrow and will dig holes in your yard if given the chance. I’ll stick to my 200 or so collectibles, they are much easier to care for.

One of my friends from work used to “show” skunks. She had two that lived with her and her family. They were inside skunks and used the litter box just as **Acid Lamp ** already mentioned they do.

Take a look at the National Grand Skunk Championship I have been told that my friend has trophies that are tremendous in size!

Who woulda skunk it? I mean thunk it?

As far as I can tell, it was a fad back them. My family owned a small town hardware store more like a general store that was built around 1900. My father and his sister grew up in the 1950’s. This small-town store had a pet section that included spider monkeys, snakes, iguanas, skunks, and assorted other beasts. My father had pet monkeys, alligators, raccoons, and skunks at home.

The skunks and raccoons were caught in the wild as tiny babies and weaned by them. Times were different but I had a pet alligator in the late 70’s as a child and a giant iguana in the 90’s. However, I noticed in old magazines that you could get all kinds of bizarre pets including alligators by mail-order back then.

I am not sure we should talk today. The number of pet tigers in the U.S. is astounding and tiger kittens can often be had for less than a pure-breed dog.

That simply isn’t true for the most part. It is almost completely state dependent and most states have very little regulations against things like exotic cats surprisingly enough. You would have a harder time owning a wild songbird or a white-tailed deer than say a tiger or a camel in Texas for example but all of them can be done. Massachusetts and New York state have strong laws about pet ownership but most do not.

Are ferrets still illegal to own in California?

Not sure about that. I am pretty sure they are illegal in New York (the city at least).

They aren’t illegal in Massachusetts so I am surprised they would be considering they are pretty decent pets. I always like looking at the exotic animal websites to see what you could buy. Tigers always struck me as amazing because they are generally pretty cheap starting at a few hundred dollars. About.com even has an article about exotic pet ownership in the U.S. Experts estimate that there are around 10,000 to 15,000 tigers now kept as pets or in private facilities in the US. For perspective, it is estimated that there are only about 5,000 left in the wild. Google will take you to all kinds of other bizarre things you can buy from the comfort of your computer including monkeys and elephants.

I have never heard of skunk breeders though. I wonder where they get them from.

Um, this post is kinda disturbing, but I don’t think I’m going to get another chance to share this anecdote so…

When my aunt was a girl, she apparently had a raccoon for a pet. It was, by her own admission, a horrible pet, mean as shit, and it’s never been totally clear to me how she got the thing but she and my dad grew up in a small town in Arkansas, so that part of the story I have no problem with. This is where the story darkens. Apparently she came home from school one day, and their housekeeper had cooked the pet raccoon. I’m sorry. It’s bad.

Sorry, I wasn’t clear, I was referring to the state where Johnny L.A. and I both live.
I believe you can have pet skunks here, but they must come from a breeder. They can’t be taken from the wild.

It isn’t really a question of the vaccine working, more a problem with the fact that there are no vaccines that are labeled for use in skunks, raccoons, etc. If the species isn’t listed on the label, then there are liability issues.

Therefore, I do not see raccoons or skunks. Or wolf hybrids, even though most of the “wolf hybrids” that people have are German Shepard mixes.

Here’s the new statute: http://www.leg.wa.gov/pub/billinfo/2007-08/Pdf/Bills/Session%20Law%202007/1418.SL.pdf (which doesn’t appear to cover skunks).

But skunks are covered by a pre-existing regulation:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=246-100-191