MILTON — To answer your first question, no, they don't stink.
People often want to know this when first meeting Daffadil and Daisy, Jim Pokrant and Kim Slater-Horton's skunks, according to the Milton couple.
Kim, an assisted-living-facility nurse from West Virginia, said she had pet skunks when she was young. Two years ago, she said she acquired Daffadil, but her husband wasn't immediately on board.
Jim, a machine operator, said he did not want a skunk in the house but now Daffadil is his favorite.
The skunks have been with Jim and Kim since they were six weeks old, Kim said. Daisy will celebrate her first birthday on March 8 and Daffadil will be 2 years old in August. Kim said her daughter, Keisha Miller, owns Daffadil’s sister, Jasmine.
The skunks came from Panhandle Exotics in Pensacola.
"When I first met them, especially Kim, (the skunks) were something she truly wanted and would care for," Christopher Evans, owner of the store since 2013, said.
Kim said Evans is picky about who he allows to adopt one of his exotic animals.
"If you’re buying a potential new member for your home … because they look cute, why do you need the animal?" Evans said. "There are a lot of things about them that are not cute, like picking up after them, feeding them. There’s a lot involved. They’re not always going to be cute."
One of those less-adorable items in skunk ownership is the required licensing. In Florida, owners must have two permits to both possess skunks and take them out in public, Kim said, which they often do.
On the "Daffadil Purdy Skunk Horton" Facebook page, visitors can see pictures of the skunks out to dinner and on the town. Most recently, Daffadil and Daisy watched the Milton Mardi Gras parade. They also regularly visit Pensacola’s Gallery Night and accompany Jim and Kim to any restaurants that are pet friendly.
Another question the couple often answers is about the skunks’ diet. Their main food source is a grain-free cat food.
"But they love eggs, veggies, turkey (cooked) in coconut oil. They eat yogurt, most foods," Jim said, "Daffadil likes ice cream."
Other than the necessary de-scenting procedure at birth, Kim said owning a skunk is much like having a cat or dog. When they’re unhappy, like a cat hissing, they make a quieter "huffing" sound, Kim said, and will jump at a perceived threat with their claws out.
Otherwise, they’re litter-trained, sometimes sleep with the couple at night, chase toys and crawl in tubes, she said.
"They love to be loved on," she said.