Is it safe to handle a skunk with bare hands?

Pennsylvania skunks can be classified as a wild animal and wild animals are not inoculated against diseases. They carry the deadly rabies virus, whether they are alive or dead, amongst other diseases that can be easily transferred to humans. Some of these include canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, intestinal roundworm, fleas, tics, lice, mites and Baylisascaris columnaris. It is not safe to handle any skunk with your bare hands, and even more deadly if you have bruises, cuts or open wounds.

Harrisburg skunks can be very aggressive, and they spray a liquid from their anal gland that has a very strong odor which is very difficult to fade. The liquid itself is harmless but the stench is terrible. They only spray when they feel threatened or get very angry so look for warning signs before ever approaching a skunk. From the minute you see they turn their back on you or raise their tail, run as fast and as far away as you can. Usually, healthy skunks run away from humans but most of those that carry the rabies virus would not be afraid of you and may look sickly.

These vermin have very sharp teeth so if you pick them up with your bare hands, they can easily bite right into your flesh. You may be tempted to help an injured skunk with your bare hands, but this would be a very bad mistake. Either shroud yourself with protective clothing from head to feet or call your local wildlife or a professional to come to its aid, instead. Using regular gloves is not protection enough, you need something that would not let the skunk penetrate it with its teeth. Rabies virus can spread from a bite or from its saliva, blood and tissue. It is advisable to keep your distance until the professionals arrive.

Having a baby Harrisburg skunk as a pet is a different story. You would need to ensure that it does not carry the deSadly virus and that it has been immunized from other life-threatening diseases. As a young baby, you can hold it with your bare hands, pet it gently and treat it with care. As it gets older, you may need to wear hand puppets, minimizing the risk of having its sharp fangs penetrating directly into your flesh. Always treat the skunk gently so that it does not grow too aggressive as it gets older. Keep in mind that even if the skunk is your pet, it can still be vengeful, spraying you with its liquid.

Never play rough with a skunk and always be on the lookout for aggressive behavior. You may not want to have other pets around if a baby skunk is your pet preference. These animals can attack each other, and the temperament of a skunk is unpredictable. You would not want to risk your house smelling highly of skunk odor, no one would ever visit you! The only disciplinary action you can take toward a skunk is by spraying it with a little water.

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