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CARE FOR ORPHANED SKUNKS
http://www.orphanedwildlifecare.com/skunkcare.htm

Orphaned Squirrel
Orphaned Chipmunk
Orphaned Raccoon
Orphaned Skunk
Orphaned Rabbit/Hare
Orphaned Woodchuck

IS THIS SKUNK TRULY ORPHANED?If the baby skunk is out of its burrow for extended periods of time on its own, it is likely orphaned and worth trying to catch.

 

RAISING A SINGLE SKUNK: If you determine that the skunk is orphaned, it will have littermates that also need help so continue to check the area frequently for up to a week. If no others are found it is vital to the skunk's proper socialization and release to be raised with other skunks, a single skunk has little chance of a successful release. Contact vets or local humane societies to try and find a buddy. If this is impossible, handling of the skunk should be minimal, give toys to stimulate, keep confined (i.e. in a cage), and do not treat as a pet. It is illegal to keep as a pet plus it wouldn't make a good pet, as it's a wild animal.

 

AGING THE SKUNK: In order to properly care for the baby you have found, it is important to know its age. Consult the chart on the back to assess age.

 

FEEDING: Orphans that have been without their mother will be suffering from chill and dehydration. They must be thoroughly warmed first, and then offered warmed rehydration solution. Pedialyte is a rehydration solution that is available in drug stores- it should be heated to body temperature and offered every couple hours for the first several feedings. Feed the baby skunk esbilac powder, mix only enough for 24hrs and keep it refrigerated. Esbilac is a puppy milk replacer, which you should be able to purchase at a vet or pet store. Cow's milk, human baby formulas, and most pet products (except Esbilac) are not suitable and will likely cause death. Use a 1cc or 5cc oral syringe (try a vet or pharmacy), warm the formula, and hold the skunk in a towel, firmly, and covering its eyes. The skunk will suck very quickly and take too much formula if you are not in total control. If this happens the skunk will sneeze formula out of its nose Stop feeding, turn upside down, gently rub its back, and gently wipe the excess formula from its nose. Repeat this for about 5 minutes or until the sneezing stops and breathing returns to normal. If severe this can cause immediate death or pneumonia on a long-term basis. This is why bottles are not suitable to use. To avoid this from occurring feed in a quiet room, go slowly and watch both the skunk and the syringe, if air bubbles appear in the syringe, stop feeding and expel the air, (see chart on back for feeding schedule). Once feeding is finished, wash its face well with a damp face cloth, as formula dries quickly and can cause fur loss. It is very critical that baby skunks are stimulated to urinate before and after every feed. The skunk may be doing it a bit on its own but this may be overflow and if not stimulated the bladder will rupture. To stimulate a baby skunk hold it over a garbage container. Dip either your finger or a Q-tip in warm water and then light feathery strokes over its genital area will cause the skunk to urinate and/or have a bowel movement. Once the skunk starts to pee don't stop as the skunk will then stop.

SUPPLEMENTS AFTER WEANING: There are several supplements that are recommended be added to a skunk's diet after it is weaned:

Taurine - an amino acid that is available in capsule form from health food stores. Open capsule and sprinkle granules on skunk's food. Each weaned skunk should get 150 mg. per day.

Calcium - 50 mg. elemental calcium per skunk per day - this can be sprinkled on food. It is important as skunks can suffer from metabolic bone disease.

Vitamin D - 30 IU Vit D-3 (divide the tablet by 13 if it is a 400 IU tablet). Vitamin D assists in calcium being properly absorbed.

If you are not able to get calcium and vitamin D, you can sprinkle bone meal on food for weaned skunks.

 

HOUSING: Housing requirements will change as the skunk grows and develops, see chart for details.

 

RELEASE: The skunks will not be ready to be released until they are 16 weeks old (usually late August or early September). It is ideal for the skunks to spend approximately 2 months in their large outdoor cage (4ft x 8ft, made of 1 welded wire mesh). The cage should also have a bottom made out of welded wire mesh to prevent the skunks from being able to escape, the cage should set flat on the ground and the bottom can be covered with some earth. A nesting box (20 x 15 and 12 high) sits on the floor of the cage. A sand box should also be in the cage that is used for digging, make sure to change the sand frequently. Do not allow the family pets access to the skunks, otherwise you are teaching them they have nothing to fear from domestic cats or dogs, something that could cost them their life in the wild. For release, choose a site well away from roads, with a mixture of woods, brushy corners, open fields, a water source nearby, and abandoned out buildings. Before releasing it is important to investigate the area, if there are neighbours trapping or harming skunks, they should not be released there. Also, check the forecast to be sure there will be at least 2-3 days of dry weather after the skunks are released. Skunks should be released in late afternoon and transported as far away from the road as possible. Bring a supply of dog food so that the skunks can have a food source until they find their own in the wild.

 

DISEASE: Skunk kits often carry roundworm and may need to be de-wormed, you can talk to a vet about this. Skunks are susceptible to distemper, you may want to consider having the skunk(s) vaccinated for distemper as well as against rabies. If you are concerned about rabies, you may want to consider having a pre-exposure vaccine for anyone who will be handling the animals-call your vet for further information. Furthermore, with all animals, you should always take precautions to avoid being bitten while you are handling the animal.

**In some jurisdictions it is illegal to care for skunks and you should consult your government wildlife agency.

 

SKUNK DEVELOPMENT AND CARE GUIDE

AGE

FEEDING

 

STIMULATION

HOUSING

SPECIAL CARE

Birth

30-35g

-nearly naked

-fine hair showing black & white pattern

-eyes & ears are sealed

 

 

2 - 2.5 mls Formula

 

5- 6 times per day.

 

-stimulate genital area

before and after feeding

to induce elimination.

-use a q-tip or the tip of your finger dipped in warm water.

-vital to house baby animals inside a house

-cardboard box filled with

soft, ravel free blankets and a hot water bottle.

-protect from drafts.

 

-when handling the skunk hold its tail between its legs, this way it can not spray. Be gentle and do not startle the skunk and you should not have problems with it spraying.

-wrap skunk in a soft towel when removed

from box, to protect from drafts.

-watch for signs of diarrhea. Stool may turn

to a soft, yellow pudding from the formula.

 

 

1 week

~50-75g

-slightly furred

-skin becoming pigmented

4-6 mls. Formula

 

5 - 6 times per day

 

-same as above

-same as above

-wrap in towel while feeding.

 

2 weeks

-weight 125g

-fully furred

-eyes still closed

8-10 mls. Formula

 

4 times per day

 

-same as above

-same as above

 

-wrap in towel while feeding.

-any diarrhea from formula should have

cleared up by now. (Call your vet if it still

has diarrhea)

 

3 weeks

-eyes & ears open

10-15 mls. Formula

 

4 times per day

 

-same as above

-can be moved into a large pet carrier, continue to provide towels and blankets.

-wrap in towel while feeding.

 

 

4 weeks

-weight 340g

-attempting to walk on short legs

15-20 mls. Formula

 

4 times per day

 

-same as above

-same as above.

-can eliminate artificial heat source

 

-introduce dry dog kibble (smaller size kibble for small breeds is best), moistened with water, along with a separate dish of drinking water. Refresh solid foods morning and night. * never use either puppy kibble or cat kibble as they are too high in protein and cause metabolic bone disease in skunks.

 

5 weeks

-very playful, steadier on legs

20-25 mls.

Formula

 

3 times per day

 

--skunk should now

eliminate on its own.

- same as above

 

-continue to feed dog kibble (increase as needed), and introduce natural foods, nuts, fruits, cooked meat, vegetables, eggs and occassionally mealworms and crickets. These foods are critical to produce a balanced, healthy diet.

*Depending on teeth development, moistening of kibble can be eliminated.

 

6 weeks

 

25-30 mls.

Formula

 

2 times per day

 

 

 

-same as above

-same as above

 

7 weeks

-fully weaned

 

30-35 mls.

Formula

 

1-2 times per

day

 

 

- skunks are now ready to live in the large outdoor cage. They must have a secure nesting box and a sand box (change frequently) for digging.

-skunk should require very little formula

and should be eating solids consistently.

Wean fully during the 7th week.

See Supplements outlined under Feeding.