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Walkies! Lola the skunk takes lead.

Byline: David Deans Reporter david.deans@walesonline.co.uk

-------- IT'S not every day you see a woman walking a skunk to work. But that's exactly what you'll see Nicki Clarke doing as she walks her pet skunk Lola on a lead from her home to a reptile shop on Cowbridge Road in Cardiff. Walking Lola isn't exactly like walking a dog. Nicki says Lola tends to go wherever she likes but has settled in well to the Clarke household and doesn't smell as much as you might think. And, according to her owner, she hasn't sprayed once yet. Lola isn't the first unusual pet to grace the Clarke household. Nicki, 51, from Ely, said she has owned the young Lola for three months and previously had two meerkats. She said: "I like pets that are different and unusual. "Prior to Lola we had two meerkats in the house, but they were quite smellier than the skunk." "She loves to be cuddled," said Nicki, who is joint owner of the reptile shop. "She can be a little bit playful in the evening - she's still technically a baby." Nicki said Lola's smell was "not that bad". "She's litter trained like a cat. As long as you keep the litter empty it's not so bad. She doesn't mind having a bath - she gets bathed once a month." Lola, who is about the size of a domestic cat, shares her home with Nicki's husband Steve, sons Jamie and Dominic, daughter Chloe, three dogs and a cat. "The cat she doesn't have anything to do with," said Nicki. "The dogs, singularly, she's alright with them. "If anything the dogs are more worried by her. She tends to chase them around." Nicki said her husband was not initially so keen. "He was a bit like what have you brought into the house now? But I've caught him on the sly with her on his lap. He thought she was going to really smell but he's realised they're not that bad." "She's really fun - they kind of dance. When they play their tail comes out and they bounce around." But she said anyone looking to have a skunk needs to do their research first "to make sure its the right pet for you". Nicki said Lola has to be fed a particular diet but that it is possible to overfeed them too. "She's never sprayed. Lola was very well socialised before we had her - that's the way to keep skunks," she said.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 2, 2014
Words:420
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