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Last Updated: Tuesday October 30 2007 05:52 GMT

Boy says skunk is 'perfect pet'

Jonathan and Gizmo

Jonathan poses with his "perfect pet".

A boy who wanted a hamster for his birthday got a bit of a shock when his dad got him a skunk instead.

But nine-year-old Jonathan said his black-and-white furry friend, called Gizmo, was "the perfect pet" for him.

It's pretty unusual to have a pet skunk as they can cause a stink by spraying a smelly liquid from scent glands near their bottoms if they feel threatened.

But Gizmo's scent glands were removed when he was little, which means he doesn't smell anymore. Phew!

Like lots of other pets, Gizmo needs plenty of exercise and he attracts loads of attention from passers-by when Jonathan takes him for walks near their home in Northumberland, in the north east of England.

Gizmo and Nanook
Jonathan says Gizmo and his dog Nanook get on really well together
Jonathan said: "All my friends think he's really, really cool. He likes to run around and he eats a lot and digs.

"He eats scrambled eggs for his vitamins, sweetcorns and peas and chicken. And sometimes he eats spiders!"

Gizmo has even made friends with Jonathan's dog - a white husky called Nanook.

There's a huge size difference between the two, but Jonathan said they loved playing together: "They bite each other's paws and run around together."

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