Page last updated at 12:00 GMT, Monday, 28 September 2009 13:00 UK

Fat skunk gives up bacon butties

Chris Noisier with Mr Bumble
Vets who examined Mr Bumble are not sure whether he has been de-scented

An overweight skunk from Somerset, whose main diet was bacon sandwiches, has been given a new home and put on a strict diet.

The owners of Mr Bumble the skunk handed him over to the RSPCA when they realised they could not look after him.

The creature is now being cared for at the Tropiquaria animal park at Washford Cross, near Watchet.

Park owner Chris Noisier said Mr Bumble weighed one stone (6.8kg) and needed to lose 5-6lb (2.2-2.7kg).

'Vegetarian option'

Mr Noisier said: "We're now working on dieting him down to what he should be. Clearly bacon butties are not a normal part of a skunk's diet in the wild.

"We're putting him on the vegetarian option at the moment. It's very much like a human weight watching issue.

"He is getting to meet lots of new people so there's lots going on in his life and I suspect it's making up for the lack of his old favourite food."

In the wild, skunks' natural diet would include carrion, insects, mice and a variety of greenery.

Chris Noisier said Mr Bumble was currently being fed on a vegetable high-fibre, low-energy diet consisting of greens and melon.

Scent glands

He is also taken for two 30-minute walks each day on a lead.

Skunks are native to North America, but have become popular as house pets in the UK.

A number of skunks have been abandoned recently since a new law banned the removal of their scent glands.

Two vets have examined Mr Bumble and neither can be sure whether he has been de-scented.

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