Author Tina Wagner Shows Students the Sensitive Side of Skunks
It’s not a word parents expect to hear as part of a conversation about what their children learned in school- skunk. On March 9, though, students at La Porte City Elementary School not only learned about the small, normally reclusive animals, they also had the opportunity to pet one. This rare, up-close look came courtesy of Tina Wagner, author of a series of children’s books featuring Puddles the Skunk.
As part of her school visit, students were introduced to Puddles, who served as the inspiration for the series, along with two of her younger friends, Sweet Pea and Gracie. Without the scent glands that generate the foul smelling odor for which skunks are known, the students were in no danger of being sprayed by the trio. Pet skunks typically have their scent glands removed at around four weeks of age. Wagner said pet skunks generally live 7-10 years, compared to the much shorter average life span of just four years for those in the wild.
As recently as 2008, Iowa was just one of 17 states that allow skunks to be kept as pets. The combination of restrictive laws and the complexity of their care make skunks a unique choice for a house pet. Ironically, it was Wagner’s daughter who brought Puddles home after purchasing her from a licensed breeder. In Iowa, prospective skunk owners must buy/receive their skunk from a licensed game breeder or someone with the proper licenses. Owners must also save their receipt to prove the skunk did not come from the wild. Skunk owners are also prohibited from giving or selling their pet skunk to another party without first obtaining a game breeder license.
Puddles is the star of three books in the series authored by Wagner, with a fourth title due to be released in June. Puddles the Skunk in Who Loves Me? will introduce readers to the characters of Sweet Pea and Gracie. For additional information about the Puddles the Skunk series of books, logon to puddlestheskunk.com or check out Puddles’ Facebook page.