This has been a tough November for us as we also said goodbye to one of the two striped skunks we rescued after Irma. We only had Mindy for two months when she passed on November 27th, but she quickly worked her way into our hearts and will be greatly missed. Mindy came to us with some health issues which we immediately addressed, but being a senior at 10 years of age, she had already reached the end of the projected captive life span for her species. Mindy loved the dried meal worms and fresh fruit we provided and would come out even in day time to dive into her breakfast. Mork and Mindy came to us together, but did not seem to be particularly bonded, so it is our hope that Mork will do well going forward. We are happy to have had Mindy for this brief period and to learn about yet another unique species.
While we have rescued and rehomed skunks previously, Shy Wolf Sanctuary has never had resident one unless they were of the wild variety…until after Hurricane Irma. The storm damaged their owners’ home and the two senior skunks found themselves surrendered to one of the local vets. The vet didn’t know what else to do with the two unexpected guests so she contacted our volunteers. We arranged to pick up the skunks the same day and one of our volunteers fostered them until we could get them to our vet. Since they didn’t even have names we decided on the iconic names of Mork and Mindy. Striped skunks can make reasonably good pets, but this pair is very old at 8-10 years (captive life expectancy is 10 years) and do not appear to be well socialized. We found that they will tolerate contact if we move slowly and quietly. The female, Mindy, has an eye problem that is a long-term issue and also seemed to have other problems including a potential kidney or urinary tract infection. Good news is she takes her specially made antibiotics with breakfast very well. Guests to the sanctuary may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of these guys but since they are mostly nocturnal they snooze most of the day. Skunks are omnivores and will eat fruits and vegetables like the tortoises and prairie dogs. They’ve shown a special love for meal worms since coming to the sanctuary and come running for breakfast when they think that will be on the menu.
Since skunks are considered to be a rabies-vector species, like raccoons, it is not legal to have them as pets in most states. We hope that people will learn from Mork and Mindy’s story and that they will thoroughly research any pet they bring home, making a life-long commitment to that animal that includes any hardships through natural or other disasters. Also, be sure to research the legalities of ownership if acquiring an exotic pet as it could mean life or death for the animal.