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Living furs..! :) Fur comparison for your interest


Foxb
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I have to admit that skunk fur is a type of fur that I could never, ever use because I have two pet skunks and I just can't get over how cute they are. I really do think other fur bearing animals are cute as well (I always loved foxes, and I think rabbits are cute etc) but I feel more comfortable using those. The 'this animal is cute so you shouldn't kill it' argument is rubbish, anyway.

 

But skunks... I dunno, I guess it's just because I live with two that I really couldn't cope with skunk fur. However! I thought you might be interested to know that their furs feel entirely different!

 

I know a lot of skill goes into colour and texture matching with fur pelts and these two would never be matched together. For starters, one is albino and the other is black and white, but I could tell which skunk is which just by feel. The black and white one has much shaggier, coarser guard hair with (in winter) a very, very thick downy undercoat that is much softer than the guard hair. The albino is quite different - even in winter he has less undercoat, but his guard hair is much smoother, more shiny and softer to touch. Interesting!

 

Pet skunks, I believe, originally came from the fur industry. There are lots of pet skunk colour variations available, so I'm supposing that different colours have been bred in much the same way as fox mutations have been bred. There are brown, grey, blue colours etc, and different types of stripes too. I see a lot of pet skunks with very broad white stripes, and I believe that this is because these were the less preferred skunks for fur (narrow white stripes used to be the most popular) and so they were more likely to end up in the pet industry - just my theory!

 

Couldn't even begin to explain why skunks seem to have all different fur textures though. My friend has two skunks (brothers) with very, very fine, silky fur - different again from my two. Comparing my skunks with hers - they feel like three different species!

 

Have you ever experienced any furs that have felt significantly different, even though they were from the same species? I know it can't be down to how I look after my skunks - they live exactly the same and they are just so different!

 

And for the interested... have some pictures.

 

http://foxbane.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d4t9h82

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I've seen the same difference in fur texture & thickness with several of our cats. Currently we have 3; 2 that are brother/sister from same litter, and 1 older female. The comparison between the coats of your skunks works kind of compares the brother/sister pair. Both are domestic shorthair cats and their fur (and coloring) are very different (as are physical features too). The male has a much smoother/silkier feel overall with slightly shorter guard hairs while his sister has a coarser feel with slightly longer guard hairs and possibly a slightly heavier undercoat. She also seems to shed to a greater degree than he does. Can't really compare the older one with the younger pair; she is more a domestic longhair (rather fluffy).

 

I guess it's just how the genes express themselves in each individual that brings this out whether skunk, cat, or anything else.

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On the subject of skunk fur (pelts), the ones I have seen have a tendancy to retain a bit of skunk oil and thus have a slightly unpleasant odor.

 

However I have also seen black (dyed) and white rabbit used to make simple kids hats that somewhat resembled the skunk look. Frequently customers would ask if they were skunk fur.

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I guess that animal pelts can differ just as much as human hair can!

As it is illegal to remove them in the UK, my two do still have their scent glands. But they don't spray, so it isn't a problem. Though skunks do generally have a naturally musky scent, too (I find it quite pleasant; definitely different from their chemical spray). I am aware that many mustelids do also have a similar scent; in fact ferrets are able to spray, too - and more frequently than skunks, but less potently. I wonder if this means that fitch, mink etc can also spray?

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Foxb,

As your pets still have their scent glands, I hope they never get really mad at you or feel threatened. In some sense, they could be considered "armed and dangerous".

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The black and white one ran into something once and bashed her nose - she let out a 'delicate mist' which lingered for a few days. There was no trace of it after that, though, thankfully. She spent the rest of that day hiding under the sofa - I think she was as offended by her own smell as I was...

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... - I think she was as offended by her own smell as I was...

That is very possible - I have heard that skunks do not like to use their "weapon" unless they have to.

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