Some families are happy with a dog, cat, bird, or even a fish. However, for Gloria Kim and her children, they decided to get a pet skunk. The animal is housebroken and walks in the neighborhood on a leash. For those wondering, there is no odor because the skunk, named Seven, underwent surgery to take care of the stench the animals are famous for. Also, it is legal in New Jersey to have a skunk as a pet.
According to CBS New York, Gloria Kim and her family brought a skunk into their home. The idea of having the animal as a pet came to her after Kim saw an albino skunk in an exotic pet store. She “just had to have one” and placed an order to have her very own pet skunk. When asked why she chose this particular animal, Gloria said because it’s unique.
“Beautiful hair. Temperament is very beautiful. He’s so cute, he’s like a little baby.”
The exotic pet store where Seven was purchased told the website that it is legal to have a pet skunk. However, owners have to get a permit from the New Jersey Divison of Fish and Wildlife. Store manager Megan Zayatz said the permit costs about $12 per year.
As for the stinking odor that skunks are known for, Gloria Kim doesn’t have to worry about that. Seven underwent surgery to remove the scent glands. This prevents the animal from releasing the odor. Iowa State University published a report on descented skunks and apparently, it is becoming more common for people to buy skunks to have as pets.
“The descented skunk has emerged as a pet which can best be described as a conversational piece. When tamed adequately, it makes a pet which is safe, lovable, and above all novel, and exclusive.”
While that takes care of the smell, some animal advocates think it is cruel and inhumane. PBS explained that without scent glands, skunks have no protection and are defenseless.
“The most notable difference between wild and domestic skunks is the lack of scent glands. Domesticated skunks are descented when they are between two and five weeks of age, and grow up ‘unarmed.’ While a relatively simple procedure, there is some debate as to whether or not descenting skunks is humane. Some argue that a descented skunk has unfairly been stripped of its natural defenses.”
The website also noted that the descented skunk is put in danger if it is ever abandoned, lost, or gets out of the house.
“If a pet skunk is let out of the house or escapes, it may be in grave danger. Skunks can travel several miles a day, and unless found, a lost pet skunk is in trouble. Unlike cats and dogs, domesticated skunks lack homing instincts to find their way back. In addition, only skunks born in the wild learn the skills necessary to forage and hunt. Finally, without scent glands, domesticated skunks have no way to protect themselves from predators. Still, their biggest threat is the same as that facing wild skunks — cars. Motor vehicles are responsible for more skunk deaths each year than any other factor including disease, persecution by humans, and the rabies virus.”
Despite all of this, Gloria Kim loves her pet skunk. She says he does not shed and goes to the restroom in a litter box or on “wee wee pads.” However, before running out to get your own pet skunk, keep in mind that only 17 states allow it.
What do you think of people having skunks as pets? Would you ever buy or adopt one for your family?
[Featured Image by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]