Traverse City Record-Eagle


August 25, 2013

Bay City teen raises skunk

BAY CITY — She owns two parrots and a cat, but 16-year-old Keili Woodruff of Bay City has another pet that causes people to do double takes: a baby skunk.

His name is King Leon, in homage to the alternative rock band Kings of Leon. He’s a 5-month-old, black furball with white stripes.

Keili says she enjoys taking him to local festivals, pushing him around in a stroller. Most recently, she paid a visit with him to the Bay County Fair.

“It’s fun to see people’s reactions,” the Bay City Western High School junior said. “People do double takes all the time.”

In order to own the skunk, she had to go through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to get the proper permit to keep a wild animal in captivity. The permit cost $100 and took about three months to obtain. Keili has to renew the permit every three years.

After she received the permit, the DNR gave her a list of skunk breeders in Michigan and, in June, she contacted a breeder in Lapeer. King Leon cost $200 and came with his scent gland removed so he can’t spray people.

King Leon eats almost anything, Keili said, with a few exceptions. He can’t eat onions, raisins, grapes, asparagus, cat food or any processed meat, she said. And he doesn’t like tomatoes or carrots.

Mostly, he eats chicken, yogurt, cottage cheese, corn on the cob, cereal, high protein dog food and several other types of food.

“When he was little, (Keili) had to wake up every few hours to feed him. She was like a mom with a newborn baby,” said Emily Werth, Keili’s dad’s girlfriend.

King Leon is like having a cat and a dog rolled into one, Keili said.

“He uses a litter box to go to the bathroom and he likes to go outside to play,” she said.

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