Housing.

Space

The minimum surface should measure at least 65.5 square feet (20 m2) for two skunks. For every additional skunk 16,4 square feet (5 m2) extra is needed. In areas where Great horned owls (Eagle owls) occur is a aviary is a safer enclosure. Great horned owls (Eagle owls) are a natural predator of skunks and hunt at night when the skunks awake. Most skunk owners have them running loose trhough the house and/or (in Europe) in the garden. It does involve some skunk proofing to garantee the extremely curious, persistent and headstrong skunks safety.

 

Adjustments / skunkproofing the garden

When the skunks have the opportunity to walk through the garden obtain a solid fence (B) with smooth or vertical planks so they can not hoist themselves up. Pavement (C) prevents them digging conversation pits and ponds. Containers and flower beds (D)must be at least 28 inches (70 cm) high, or else the skunks themselves will do the gardening. Is there an exit in the back of the garden a lock gate (A) is recommended. Skunks can if they want slip very quickly and quietly behind your back.

Some examples of skunkproof containers and flower beds for a green touch in the garden.

 

Skunkproofing the house

Many skunks can open the doors of kitchen cabinets, refrigerators and cupboards easily. These can be provided (children) locks. The undersides of chairs and sofas can be protected against digging and tearing into pieces by stapling a piece of wood or wire mesh underneath. Loose cables are a nice game for skunks. These can easily be concealed in ducts. Open stairways are dangerous to skunks. Skunks don't see depth very well and are at risk from falling between the steps.

 

Skunkhouses and sleeping dens

An outdoor skunkhouse or sleeping den must be waterproof and draft-free. Protect the entrance on the inside with an extra panel or bulkhead so the wind doesn't blow in and the skunks don't have to lay in a draft. Suitable sleeping dens are children's play houses, dog houses and wooden toy chests. If possible, a cat flap as a door is recommended. Skunks have been known to learn quickly how it works. As bedding use a layer of straw or blankets. The size of the entrance may be about 8 to 8 inches (20 to 20 cm). The entry should be as low as possible. If no cat flap can be used a wooden threshold can be made to prevent straw to be walked out. Never place a skunkhouse in full sun. If possible, place it in a shady spot in the garden. If the sun is still shining on for a few hours, then gard the skunkhouse with a large parasol or sunshade. Inside or next to the skunkhouse a litterbox can be placed. Most skunks use their litterbox so their sleeping area stays clean. When several skunks are kept together, it is advisable to create at least two places to sleep. Should disagreement arise, there is always the possibility for a skunk to be sleeping alone when needed.

For sleeping places indoors, wooden toy chests are used with an access door cut out. Also, dogs / cats baskets are used in a quiet and dark place (eg under or inside a cabinet or table).

 

Litterbox

Skunks are naturally very sanitary and do their needs at a fixed place. That does not mean they use the place you have choosen for them... The easiest way is to put down the litterbox on the spot where the skunkdoes his needs. This is usually near their sleeping place. Also, skunks do use the box if they find it dirty themselfes, sometimes one dropping is enough to do their busyness demonstrative in front of it. As litter clay litter, newspapers or wood pellets can be used. It takes some time figuring what the skunk is the most comfortable with.

Skunk kit

A skunk kit can be temporarily housed in a large rabbit cage (do not use cages with floors / levels) or bench with fine bars. This prevents the little one to crawl away and hides and you keep looking for hours to find your little precious. On one side of the cage make it a place to sleep. One could use a folded fleece blanket, large towel or a small cat basket. The bottom of the cage can be covered with newspapers. Once the skunk choses a corner to relieve himself put a small litterbox in that spot. The little one will soon realize that he must deposit his feces there.

Has he learned to use his toilet than he can be offered a slightly larger space, such as a portion of the kitchen, the bathroom or a bedroom provided that it is possible to shield it off. It is wise to put a litterbox in every corner because a skunk prefers to do his need in a corner. Once he has chosen his favorite toilet , the other litterboxes can be removed. Has he become well house-trained you can give him freedom throughout the house. But it is wise to place some extra litterboxes in different corners and rooms for the first few months. It can be somewhat annoying but eventually the skunk will use only one or two litterboxes. Provide a quiet place to sleep in the form of a converted toy chest, a place in a desk or sideboard where you can put in a blanket or cat bed . Sometimes the skunk choses it sleeping place himself, eg under a chair, table or cabinet.

References

Personal experiences

The Biology of the Striped Skunk B.J. Verts

Care, Management and Biology of Captive Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis) J. Wade-Smith and M.E. Richmond

Husbandry, Overwinter Care and Reproduction of Captive Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis) S. Lariviére, Y.T. Hwang, W.A. Gorsuch and S. A. Medill

Economic value of North American skunks D.E. Lantz

Food Intake, Weight Changes and Activity of Confined Striped Skunks (Mephitis mephitis) in Winter M. Aleksiuk and A.P. Stewart