Another question from my Tribune Media Services newspaper column:
Q: Do skunks really make good pets? I read in a magazine that you have a skunk with a blue tongue. Where would I find one? -- C.T., Cyberspace
A: I do have a pet with a blue tongue -- a Northern blue-tongue skink, a kind of lizard. These lizards, are native to Australia (and nearby islands), are sometimes captive bred as pets in the U.S. As lizards go, they're docile (when handled from a young age) and reasonably interactive with people. They grow to around 2-feet-long and can live 20 years. They're reasonably easy to care for. I first wrote about blue-tongue lizards as an alternative to then-popular green iguanas, which grow to 5 to 6 feet, require climbing space, very specific housing and can be cantankerous. Northern blue-tongue skinks are a far better choice than iguanas for most pet owners )as a bearded dragons and leopard geckos).
A skunk (a mammal, not a lizard) is a very different matter. While skunks can be de-scented, they still have a certain odor about them. If adopted when young, they can be docile, but in many places it's illegal to have a pet skunk (without a special permit). Skunks can be house-trained, and are very smart and very curious. They can get into trouble if not crated. Except to ward off visitors, I personally don't believe pet skunks are a good idea.
The only way a skunk might have blue tongue is after drinking a blue Slurpee!
©Steve Dale, Tribune Media Services