Can You Legally Keep A Skunk As A Pet In Washington State?

I'm at a wedding in Colorado and I got into a conversation with a friend of my wife's who joked that he wanted us to get him a pet skunk in Washington State.

skunk in nature during fall

I've heard of foxes sometimes being a pet but I was unaware of skunks making great pets. We got into a conversation about why they would make a great pet. In the state of Colorado, it's illegal to keep a skunk as a pet but what about Washington State?

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There are currently 17 states that allow you to keep a pet skunk with certain caveats:

New Jersey
New Mexico
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia
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It's Illegal To Have A Skunk As A Pet In Washington State

As you can see Washington State doesn't make the list.

Here's what the Washington Department Of Fish and Wildlife says about keeping skunks as pets:

Skunks are mild-tempered, mostly nocturnal, and will defend themselves only when cornered or attacked. Even when other animals or people are in close proximity, skunks will ignore the intruders unless they are disturbed.

Skunks are beneficial to farmers, gardeners, and landowners because they feed on large numbers of agricultural and garden pests. While young skunks are cute and kitten-like, they are wild animals and it is illegal to keep them as pets.

It is fascinating that our next-door neighbors Oregon and Idaho allow pet skunks. You of course need to check with local laws on what's required to keep a pet skunk.

According to research, there are two types of skunks that make good pets if you live in Oregon and Idaho and are allowed to have them.

Here Are The Types Of Skunks That Make A Great Pet

The most common type of skunk kept as a pet is The Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis). Striped skunks are relatively small compared to other species, and they typically weigh between 4 and 10 pounds when fully grown. They are also the most odoriferous of the skunk species, which is why it is so important to have them spayed or neutered.

Another type of skunk that can make a good pet is the “spotted” or “hog-nosed” skunk (Conepatus leuconotus). These skunks are larger than striped skunks, weighing in at 10-20 pounds when fully grown. Spotted skunks also have the ability to spray like their striped cousins, but their odor is not as potent.

The third type of skunk that can be kept as a pet is the North American “short-tailed” or “stubby-tailed” skunk (Brachyurus essigii), which is found primarily in Mexico and Central America.

Short-tailed skunks are smaller than both striped and spotted skunks, typically weighing between 3 and 6 pounds when fully grown. They do not have the ability to spray like their striped and spotted cousins, but they do emit a foul-smelling secretion from their anal glands when threatened or alarmed.

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Check out these 10 animals that are illegal to keep as a pet in the Tri-Cities

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