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Skunks

The striped skunk is a member of the Mustelid family well known for its pungent defence mechanism.

About skunks

Common NameStriped Skunk
Scientific NameMephitis mephitis
Native toNorth America
Natural HabitatMany habitats from deserts and plains to woodland edges and urban areas
DietOmnivorous, eating lots of invertebrates but also other small animals and vegetation
Life Expectancy5-10 years
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (3.1)

About our skunks

We have 3 skunks at the park, a male and female pair called Smokey and Bandit, and one of their youngsters, called Eric.

How we care for our skunks

Our skunks are now housed in our new outdoor skunk enclosure in our arboretum. This enclosure gives our skunks a huge amount of space to explore, lots of different substrates and items to interact with and items to play with.

Our skunks have two shelters, which are heated to 18°c using thermostated heat lamps, to make sure they have a cosy indoor area to return to in bad weather.

We feed our skunks a vareity of fruit, vegetables and invertebrates daily.

They have three water bowls - one inside each of their houses, and one outside.

What you can do to help skunks

Although skunks are not threatened in the wild, they sometimes kept as exotic pets. They can be difficult to care for - not least because a worried skunk can get quite smelly! It used to be common practice to remove the scent glands of pet skunks, so their main form of defence was taken from them.

You can help skunks by:

  • being aware that in the UK it is not legal to de-scent a skunk
  • thinking carefully before you buy an exotic pet, to make sure that you'll be able to properly care for them