Ipswich: Jasmine the skunk is heaven scent

IT’S a creature with a positively pongy reputation. But little Jasmine is one cute step closer to making sure the skunk name comes up smelling of roses.

The eight-week-old critter, owned by Jennie Bartlett, is thought to be the first domesticated skunk living in Ipswich.

Mother-of-four Jennie, of Bruff Road, said she had never considered owning a skunk until she saw one in the street, while on a shopping trip in Lincoln.

The 51-year-old said that when her son found a breeder online, the opportunity was not to be sniffed at.

“At first I didn’t even realise you could have them as pets.

“I read into it more and more and I found so many people with them.”

And Jennie said skunks are far-removed from their anti-social stereotype and would only ever spray as a last resort.

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She’s settled in absolutely brilliantly,” Jennie said.

“She goes everywhere with me.”

Jasmine lives in a hutch but spends most of her day following Jennie around the house.

Jennie said: “She’s got a nest made out of teddies. She’s very sociable – they play like kittens and they follow you around.”

The skunk is by no means Jennie’s first pet. Jasmine has two Rotterman dogs – Doberman Rottweiler cross-breeds – three cats, a one-eyed white rabbit, three tarantulas, a bearded dragon, a bosc monitor lizard, a dozen pythons with two more eggs currently hatching, three hognose snakes, two goliath beetle grubs and a rat called Olly – named after singing star Olly Murs.

“Everyone thinks I’m mad but I’m happy,” Jennie said.

“It’s a nice home to live in.”

Son Jacky, 21, who sourced the skunk from Lincoln, is studying a herpetological course online.

Jennie’s 17-year-old son Joshua Butcher is studying part-time at Suffolk College and spends the rest of his time looking after the family menagerie.

Daughter Jessica Butcher, 15, is about to start studying an animal management course at Otley College and wants to be an RSPCA inspector.

Jennie’s eldest son, Daniel Butcher, 27, has recently moved to America to live with his fianc�e and has already adopted a Black Widow spider he found in the garden shed which is now living in their bedroom.

n Are you the proud owner of an unusual pet? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or e-mail starletters@archant.co.uk