A pet skunk has escaped from a home in Dorset, with its distraught owner warning people against touching it because it "can spray".
The animal, named Sky, went missing from a home in Christchurch after its owner forgot to close the back gate in her garden.
Pet technician Sharon Tyler, 55, warned her escaped pet is “fully loaded”, adding: “She can spray if she is scared, which she will be.”
Skunks are known for their spray glands, which excrete a yellow oil with an unpleasant odour as part of the animal’s defence mechanism.
Sky, who is deaf, went missing on Friday and her owner believes “she is within 100ft of home somewhere”.
Ms Tyler is appealing to members of the public who own a thermal drone to help with the search, as she fears it will be like “looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Sky is one of three skunks that Ms Tyler owns, bought from a breeder in Southampton seven years ago.
On Sunday, another skunk owner helped with the search in the hope that they would be able to pick up a scent, but Sky was not found.
Ms Taylor said her nocturnal pet could be “curled up in someone’s shed or garage.”
“A lot of people think it is a prank, but it’s not. Sky is a much-loved pet,” Ms Taylor added.
Sky is not the first exotic pet to go missing in the UK in the past few weeks. In September, a grandfather was attacked by an 11ft python after it slithered into his home through a window.
“It tried to bite me and coil around me,” Rob Byrne, 61, said. “Its fangs nicked my arm and drew blood as it tried to sink its teeth into my arm. It caught the back of my arm with one fang and the other fang got caught in my polo shirt.”
The python attack came as Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service reported an increase in snake escapes.