natural diet of the striped skunk consists largely of rodents,
insects, vegetables and a little fruit. On the proper way
to feed domestic skunks, opinions range widely. Since there
are more roads that lead to Rome, there are different diets
for skunks. Whether one feeds them raw meat or kibble, it
is important that the diet exists of approximately 40 to 50%
protein, 10% fiber, 40% carbohydrates and 10% fat. If one
provides them dog kibble or cooked meat calcium and taurine
has to be added to the diet. If raw meat with bone and all
is provided than it is not nescesary to give them taurine
and calcium as it is allready in raw meat and bones. Cats
kibble can cause kidney and liver problems. Raw meat can be
given with bone and all can include; day-old chicks, chicken,
turkey, beef or beef heart. If the meat is cooked then the
bones must be removed. Cooked bones splinter in the stomach
and can cause stomach and intestinal perforations. Most skunks
also like mice and insects such as mealworms, superworms,
crickets and grasshoppers.
much to feed
much do you need to feed a skunk? This is a frequently asked
question but has no standard answer. Each skunk is different.
First there are the differences in size (length), activity
and age. You need also take into account that skunks that
are kept outside need to be able to build up a fat reserve
to get through the winter safely. The amount of food should
be adjusted to the individual skunk. The skunk must be weighed
regularly. The weight schedule is useful to determine if
a skunk needs to gain or needs to lose weight and thus more
or less food should be given. Measuring is knowing ... Skunk
kits have a need for several meals a day. This to prevent
seizures caused by low blood sugar levels. Skunks suckle
with their mum until they are 8 weeks old. Not untill the
age of 8 weeks will they completely solid food. This should
also be the minimum age when they can be separated from
the mother. Unfortunately it happens all too often that
they are much younger when separated from the mother to
be sold... Skunk kits at the age of 4 weeks even need to
be fed 4 or 5 times a day with artificial milk. At the age
of eight weeks a puppy eats solid food offered in 4 or 5
meals a day. This can be reduced so that when they are 15
weeks only eat 2 meals a day. Adult skunks often eat only
once a day. Click here
to download the manual on infant skunk care.
are members of the order of Carnivora (carnivores). Within
this order also herbivores are found (eg Giant panda, Kinkajou).
The skunk has a diet that's in between these vegetarians
and the more strict meateters such as cats and ferrets.
The skunks digestive tract has been more adapted to an omnivorous
diet than most carnivores. The dentures af an adult skunk
in the upper jaw (as well as left and right) are composed
of 3 incisors, 1
canine, 3 premolars
and 1 molar. The lower
jaw has 3 incisors,
1 canine, 3
premolars and 2 molars.
The skunks molars fit together like Lego blocks and therefore
adapted to crushing food. In ferrets and cats the molars
slide alongside each other like a pair of scissors, an adaptation
for cutting meat. The intestines of a skunk are for a carnivore
longer than usual, about 6 to 7 times it's body length (compare;
ferret or cat 4 to 5 times it's body length). The food has
a longer way to travel in which the the amylase from the
pancreas can do better in breaking down the carbohydrates
from the eaten plantmatter.
are naturally predisposed to build up a fat reserve to withstand
times of cold and food scarcity. Skunks that are kept indoors
throughout the year do not require fat deposits and their
weight should be monitored. Outdoor skunks that sleep outside
in winter enter a resting phase. They are not very active
and eat much less and less frequent. These skunks should
be able to build up a fat reserve to get through the winter
well. For the North and Middle European climate an increase
of the total weight by about 30-50% from August is desired.
In late February when the skunks are becoming more active,
the bodyfat should have been reduced by most of it.
the diagram above the length is measured from the tip of
the nose to the base of the tail allong the back of the
green color indicates the weight that a skunk may have from
August through February during winterrest. Of course in
February, the skunk isn't on the maximum weight but rather
toward the lower limit of the green.
blue color indicates the weight for skunks which kept indoors
throughout the year and the weight of outdoor kept skunks
from March to July.
Intake, Weight Changes and Activity of Confined Striped Skunks
(Mephitis mephitis) in Winter M. Aleksiuk and A.P. Stewart
body condition of striped skunks using non-invasive morphometric
indices and bioelectrical impedance analysis Y.T.
Hwang, S. Larieviére and F. Messier
and Behavior of Striped Skunks J.W.
Biology of the Striped Skunk B.J.
Management and Biology of Captive Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis)
Wade-Smith and M.E. Richmond
Overwinter Care and Reproduction of Captive Striped Skunks (Mephitis
Lariviére, Y.T. Hwang, W.A. Gorsuch and S. A. Medill
Factors for Striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis) University