Skunk nail clippers! Hide!

Posted on April 19, 2010

Are you sneaking up on my skunk nails?

Are you sneaking up on my skunk nails?

Stay under there, Lacey, they've got the clippers!

Pet skunks do not like their nails trimmed. But it’s gotta be done.


Read our pet skunk nail trimming tips after story.


Pet skunk nail clipping is as diverse as skunk personality.  If there is a way out, they will find their method.

Pooh – it took four men to hold him down and we had to wrap him in a quilt then pull out one little hand or foot at a time. Lots of luck holding onto the leg because I think he would as soon lose that leg as have one nail snipped.

Jeronimo – Jeronimo was the only one who liked his nails trimmed.  He would lay on his back in my arms, chew his nails a little while then look up at me with those black eyes and hold out his hand for me to trim them.

Sage – one nail a week.  He never forgot.  We had to wait until he was asleep on the sofa next to us and sneak out the clippers.  He could smell them during his power nap so I had to be quick.  Snip.  Hiss.  Scream.  Jump and run, stomping all the way.  Three days passed before he came back on the sofa, then he slept with his eyes open.

Now the girls are a trip.  Our current pet skunks, Blossom and Lacey, do not want their nails clipped but they both know it needs to be done.

Lacey – Well, our little Lacey is the wiggliest little thing we have ever encountered, but she is tiny and not so powerful so Hubby holds her back legs while I hold her back against my chest and trim the nails.  I hold her head tight to mine, her mouth next to my ear.  She squirms and kicks and threatens me with every thing she can think to do when she gets down, but she never tries to bite.

Blossom.  She gets mad.  Eyes bugging out, pissed off mad.  But you know, she doesn’t try to bite either and she lets me do her nails on my own.  She just screams silently.  “Don’t come out from under the hutch, Lacey!! They’ve got the snippers!”

And if Blossom is under the hutch and Lacey is getting her nails snipped, then Blossom is screaming, “Run, Lacey, run! I told you they were getting out the snippers!”

If not for Blossom’s screams, the nails on both could probably be done in one sitting.  But they are always done on different days.

Pet skunks nail trimming options….

One suggestion I had for clipping pet skunk nails was quite unique.  Place skunk in a hanging bird cage with the bottom pan out.  The skunks little feet and nails poke through the holes and can be clipped from below.  I consider this a wonderful idea except mine always jerk their feet away and I might cut too short or have to try again and again.  Someday, when I have the hanging birdcage, I may try it though.

Duct tape is another idea.  If I had to trim nails on my own, I would use duct tape for handcuffs.  Or just socks.  They work.  We used to tie Joseph, our Newfoundland dog.  We tied his front legs and back legs together with old men’s socks so we could groom him.  Otherwise he was always sitting up to pivot the other way.  With his legs tied, he just went to sleep and we would flip him to the other side while he snored.  If men’s socks could hold a skunk then we would try those, but there is not much that will hold a skunk when it wants out.  Except duct tape.  But that is another story.

Really.  Don’t tempt me, Lacey.  I certainly think that is the best idea I had all day.  I have threatened to use duct tape for skunk halters too, but that is another story.

The Six Word Story counterpart to this short short…..

Pet skunks for sale humor in pet stories.


Essa Adams is the author of Skunk Medicine: There’s A Skunk In the House! and Other Tail-Raising Stories

Author of A Breath Floats By – a novel with three pet skunks as co-stars.

Pet skunk nail trimming tips.

  • Follow the nail trimming length for dogs.
  • Watch for the quick visible within the nails.
  • Some quicks are pink, some look black inside the nail.  Some nails a dark, some clear, some white.
  • Do not trim close to the end of the quick, it is live and will bleed and hurt them.
  • Have styptic pencil ready, or a powder.  We now use the liquid pencil for men’s shaving cuts.  We never travel without the stiptic because you never know when there will be a torn nail, easy to happen on an anxious pet skunk digging their way out of a carrier.
  • Have cornmeal or wheat flour in a little plastic jar to stick their foot in if you have nothing else, but don’t bank on this for bleeding.
  • In fact, three or four ways to stop bleeding are the best idea, you never know.
  • We purchased a new fangled ‘pencil’ that men use for shaving, it is a liquid roll on and we like that best.
  • Follow your skunks direction.  If they can only handle one nail a day without a complete meltdown, it’s okay.  Just go back for more every few days.
  • Nails can be trimmed once a week, just going a little shorter the next time, until the proper length.  This way they get more accustomed to the act and the trimming is safer for them than trying to go too close to quick.
  • A little treat between nails is a good thing. Of right after all of one hand is completed, then a treat then continue.
  • If your pet skunk will allow you to use an emory board on the end of their nails to smooth the sharp edges after trimming, this is a plus.  It can be a very soothing manipulation with lots of kisses and little treats.

Remember, you can always write to me in comments area with questions.  If I don’t know the answer, I will find one of my friends with skunks who does and they can comment on here so we all learn.