When Jayne McLaughlin’s pet albino skunk Sabrina went missing last October she thought she would never see her again.
Jayne, who lives in Braybrooke, south-east of Market Harborough, got the skunk from a friend who owns a private zoo near Coventry, and it wasn’t used to the wild.
So as the weeks turned into months, and autumn turned into winter, Jayne (58) assumed her two-year-old pet had starved to death.
But last week, Jayne was up at 3am getting a drink of water, when she saw a white shape on her back lawn.
She opened the door, and guess what? Yep, Sabrina the albino skunk was back, five-and-a-half months later, claws a bit long, coat a bit scruffy, but otherwise perfectly well.
She had been hanging around the village like a bad smell all these months.
“Oh my God, I was just incredulous” said Jayne. “After a couple of months had passed, and with no sightings around the village at all, I thought ‘there’s just no way’,”
Skunks are nocturnal in America, but Jayne said she had walked around the village at night many times, and never seen Sabrina.
“There are badgers setts around Braybrooke, and I guess she would have been living there and eating grubs and worms and maybe catfood” said Jayne.
“She was a little bit tetchy when I picked her up, but she soon thought ‘oh, it’s you’ and settled down.”
Jayne, whose job involves recruiting people to develop new drugs and technologies, has always liked exotic pets.
She and husband Patrick currently have a rescue dog, cat and hamsters and some African pygmy hedgehogs.
And what was the first thing Sabrina did when she got back? “She had some food of course, and then we had a cuddle for an hour.”