So You’ve Decided to Buy Your First Pet Skunk

Congratulations on your good decision. Welcome to the club of Skunkers. We’re a close-knit group, and loyal.

Skunks as pets receive a bum rap. Like the much-maligned pit bull, these misunderstood creatures are treated by the larger culture as objects to be feared, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The fear of skunks is self-perpetuating. Loathing breeds resentment on both sides. Good for you for taking this first step, and breaking the picket line of prejudice.

Now that you’ve decided to purchase your first skunk, it’s time to consider what sort of skunk is right for you.

1. Hire an experienced skunk-catcher. Your skunk should be robust and strong. Since skunks are not sold by most “clear-market” pet sellers, it is likely that you will be catching your first skunk by yourself. This will be a formidable challenge for anyone but the most professional, and will likely leave you scarred, scratched up and reeking by the end of your hunt. Also, quite frankly, if you as a novice can catch it, it’s probably not a very good skunk! So take the responsibility out of your own hands, and put it in the hands of an experienced local. There are many skunkers, skunkmen, and skunk-catchers who operate in a legal gray area. One place to ask about them? Auto shops. Y’know, oil and lube. Throw up a flag in the garage, and 9 times out of 10, you’ll get at last a decent tip. Rates vary according to region and season, so do your research, and be prepared to spend a little if you want the very best.

2. Choose a powerful skunk. Unlike a lot of hobbies, there is no reason to dip your toes into the water with a midgrade, entry-level skunk. Such skunks are, to put it lightly, worthless, and will bring you none of the joy or satisfaction as a pet owner that a powerful skunk will. Signs of a powerful skunk are the size of its haunches, the quality of its fur (fine and shiny vs matted and dull) and of course, the potency of its scent.

3. Weaponize your skunk gently. The initial impulse, upon becoming a skunkman, is to instantly goad your skunk into expelling the contents of its bulbous anal sacs, popping them open with a hiss like you were squeezing the jelly out of a swollen pearl of tapioca. Don’t do this. You have to be diplomatic when weaponizing your skunk, and going Full Load Mode on day one is, quite simply, not the way to do it. To get your skunk to attack on command, it’s going to have to trust you. Set a good example by trusting your skunk first. Give it time to feel comfortable around you before you begin turning its anal sacs into your own personal agent orange.

4. Stealth is the key. For god’s sake, don’t laden your skunk down with collars and expensive baubles. Don’t highlight its warning stripe with bold primary colors, as has been the trend in recent years. Do not bejewel or pierce your skunk. For hygienic purposes (and to keep the skunk itself smelling fresh), shampoo your skunk twice monthly as a matter of routine. Ideally, the skunk should blend in with your attire, worn about your neck, concealed inside your hair and collar when in public. If people can’t see your skunk at first glance, good. Don’t be ostentatious. You didn’t buy a goddamn peacock.

5. Congratulations! Once you have fully trained and weaponized your skunk, you will feel as though you have entered into a new world of your own creation. You are now in control of every social dynamic. You guide the conversations, you set the topics, you are the authority. Because now you are a skunkman. Anyone who crosses you will never smell the same again.