The skunks will shed two times in one year. They do shed the soft downy layer in spring, while they also shed their longer and courser coat in the fall. Shedding is normally less compared to that of a cat or dog, and it will last for only a short period. The skunk develops long fur in the winter to keep warm. The skunk will shed the fur for the same reason as people shed their hair. The skunk will sleep during the winter but does not hibernate. It will develop a winter and a summer coat. It does have a thick undercoat that will shed and thin in the spring, while the coarser overcoat is more waterproof so that the snow and the cold rain do not reach the skin. It allows them to continue to be warm. They will shed heavily in the spring for two different reasons. They have to clear out older fur and reduce the amount of fur that they have to carry in winter. The pattern is not that obvious when the animal is in an area which has a constant climate, but it still takes place.
The shedding takes place seasonally and it may depend on how much daylight an animal gets. The hair growth or shedding is regulated by fluctuations in the amount of hormones that are being secreted by a pineal gland to respond to the seasonal sunlight variations. When there is an increase of light, then the hair will grow in the spring. Spring shedding is normally heavier because the winter coat is getting replaced by a lighter coat for summer.
Even if seasons are the number one reason for the skunk to shed, there are other reasons. It can be because of their lifestyle when the skunks like to stay underground or above the ground, poor nutrition, gender, breed and age. Other reasons can be related to health, behavior and hormonal status. The various types of skunks may also have different times and different amounts of fur to shed.
If you have a skunk pet, you should learn how to keep it healthy and avoid shedding the fur when it is not necessary. You should not feed the skunk pet cat food since it can weaken the liver after some time since it is high in fat and protein. The right diet should be of vegetables, yogurt, cottage cheese and fruits. The skunk should also play, socialize, and exercise. You have to play with it on a daily basis, and it can be a game of chasing, tug of war or stomping. If the pet learns to bathe when it is still young, it can adapt well. It loves water and it can swim well also, but during the shedding period, you may have to deal with a lot of hair. With your pet, you should learn how to trim its long nails which are normally meant to dig. Regular worming or flea control also ensures healthy fur for your skunk.
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