What Do Skunks Eat In The Wild


What Do Skunks Eat In The Wild

Skunks are probably looking for food if you’ve seen them in your yard. What do skunks eat? has undoubtedly left you wondering what they were after.

Although skunks are omnivores, insects are their primary dietary source. They consume a variety of foods, such as mushrooms, fruits, vegetables, eggs, small mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Skunks are opportunistic eaters, thus they change their diet according to what is in season. Skunks have additionally adapted to urban settings by consuming yard food, such as pet food and rubbish.

Raccoons and skunks both eat comparable foods. However, they do have a few peculiar dietary habits. You can learn everything you need to know about skunk diets from this guide. We’ll go over the foods they consume both in the wild and in populated regions.

Let’s move forward.

What Do Skunks eat in the wild?

1. Insects

A skunk’s diet consists primarily on insects, which account for about 70% of their daily calories. They are excellent foragers of all varieties and sizes of insects. Skunks get both water and a great source of protein from insects.

Skunks adore digging in your yard to uncover the worms and tasty grubs that lurk just beneath the surface. In their pursuit of soft, juicy insects, they will destroy your lawn. The distinctive cone-shaped holes in your lawn will be your first clue that a skunk has been searching there for insects.

For a skunk, almost any insect is fair game. Skunks enjoy eating the following insects:

  • ants
  • beetles
  • caterpillars
  • Jade jackets
  • crickets
  • grasshoppers
  • spiders
  • cockroaches

Skunks are a great asset to have around for controlling pesky insects.

In the spring and summer, when there are a lot of insects about, insects are quite simple to find in their woodland home.

Even though most insects are dormant in the winter, skunks still consume insects, just not as many.

2. Bees & Honey

The main threat to honey bees and their colonies is skunks. Both the bees and the honeycomb within will be eaten by the skunk.

Skunks may readily consume a large number of bees since their mouths are impervious to bee stings.

Skunks must entice the bees to emerge from the hives at night since they are nocturnal feeders.

To urge the bees to explore, the skunk would scrape the hive’s exterior. The skunk consumes them once they have left the hive. The majority of them will be chewed to release the bodily fluids, and the solid portions will be spit out. A skunk will consume an entire hive of bees if given the chance.

Skunks visit the hive primarily in search of the bees, but they occasionally help themselves to the honey.

3. Rodents

Small rodents including mice, rats, and moles are commonly eaten by skunks. Even while they won’t go searching for rodents explicitly, they will consume them if given the chance.

In the winter, when it’s colder outside, skunks frequently consume rodents. This is because their typical supply of protein, insects, is dormant.

Skunks can more easily trap and consume smaller rodents. If the smaller rodents are sick or injured and unable to run, they may eat the larger ones.

Since they are nocturnal and numerous when skunks are feeding at night, rodents are also simpler for skunks to catch.

4. Amphibian & reptiles

Frogs, toads, snakes, lizards, and salamanders are just a few of the amphibians and reptiles that skunks have been known to eat. These may be readily available in big quantities and simple for skunks to catch depending on the habitat.

Skunks consume a lot of protein from tiny animals like amphibians and reptiles. These animals are simple for skunks to consume due to their soft flesh and hollow bones.

Skunks find it far simpler to catch smaller reptiles than larger ones. Any prey they come upon will be rendered motionless by their fangs or claws.

Skunks are one of the few creatures that are resistant to the venom of venomous reptiles, therefore they are not at risk from them. Because of this, skunks may easily consume rattlesnakes without getting bitten.

5. Birds & eggs

Skunks will consume any wild ground-feeding birds they come across. Skunks can’t actually reach birds that are higher up because they aren’t very good climbers. Unless the birds are ill or hurt, that is.

Additionally, ground-dwelling birds often have nests that are closer to the ground, making their young and eggs vulnerable to skunks that hunt for food.

Skunks will also forage for eggs in chicken coops. In extreme cases, they might even kill a chicken, but this is quite uncommon.

6. Fruits & vegetable

Skunks will eat fruits, vegetables, and nuts to fill up during the winter months when food sources are more limited. Skunks don’t particularly care what kind of fruits and vegetables they consume, however leafy greens are frequently a preference. Skunks benefit from fruits and vegetables because they give them fiber, vitamins, and other essential ingredients that keep them healthy.

Skunks will choose crops that are at ground level because they are poor climbers. Typically, this refers to berries and root vegetables. Other fruit that has fallen from trees is also available to them.

Skunks may get plenty of protein and lipids from nuts during the winter. They appear to enjoy walnuts, pecans, and hickory.

7. Vegetation, grains & fungi

7. Vegetation, grains & fungi

When skunks are foraging, they can seriously harm the plants in your yard.

Skunks are said to consume a lot of vegetation as a convenient means of accessing the insects that are hiding on the plants or leaves.

Skunks frequently forage on the forest floor or near bodies of water, where they find a variety of fungi to consume. Skunks stay healthy because to the vitamins and minerals found in fungi.

8. Carrion

Skunks are noted scavengers who consume carrion, which is the animal carcass flesh. These will be larger predator-killed animals or possibly roadkill.

Skunks aid in the breakdown of decaying animals and the recycling of nutrients back into the ecosystem by consuming carrion. The meat gives the skunk a good source of protein that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to obtain from their own hunting.

For people, this helps stop the spread of illness or the unpleasant odor of rotting flesh in the region.

9. Milk

For the first three months of their lives, baby skunks (kits) will depend on their mother’s breast milk. Mum must be around to nurse the babies throughout this time; if she is killed or moved, the children will go hungry.

After three months, the mother skunk will forage at night with the young. They will learn how to locate wholesome food sources from their mothers. At first, they will consume a diet that is relatively high in protein but primarily consists of easy-to-catch items like insects.

Once they are able to go out and find food on their own, young skunks are quite self-reliant. After this point, they no longer sleep or forage with the mother and go off alone.

What do Skunks eat in Urban Areas?

10. Trash

There is a lot of rubbish for residences in metropolitan regions. This is a delicious combination of leftover food that smells divine to skunks. All of those various foods are conveniently contained in one container that can be opened simply tearing a bag.

Skunks can readily open trash bags and remove any leftover food that is inside. They will also gladly take whatever that the raccoons leave behind after raiding your trash.

Skunks will eat just about everything they can find, including processed foods that are bad for them. Skunks tend to be particularly drawn to sweet food. Therefore, garbage cans filled with cake or candy wrappers would be particularly alluring to skunks.

You can use the same advice we give for stopping raccoons at your trash cans to prevent skunks from rifling through your rubbish.

11. Birdseed & Pet food

Food left out for other animals in your yard is a convenient source of food for skunks. This included pet food in outside bowls and bird feed.

Sunflower seeds in particular are a favorite food of skunks. Skunks love this since it frequently implies there are birds and eggs nearby to forage for.

Skunks can easily eat from ground-level or tray-style bird feeders that you place out, but they can’t reach feeders higher up.

A skunk can easily devour dog and cat food from outdoor dishes. To prevent skunks from devouring these bowls at night, you might wish to bring them indoors. This is crucial if your pets are allowed to roam freely. If a pet feels threatened in your yard, a skunk is likely to give them a good spraying.

Do Skunks eat fish?

Skunks will consume fish if given the chance. Nevertheless, they eat primarily land-based foods. Shallow yard ponds provide convenient access for skunks to catch fish. That implies that a hungry skunk might eat your precious fish.

Keep a netted section over the top so that skunks can’t enter the water at night to prevent them from eating your pond fish.

Do Skunks eat small animals?

Skunks have a history of consuming small animals like baby rabbits and squirrels. Although they don’t deliberately go hunting for these animals, it does happen occasionally.

You might be wondering if a skunk would devour a tiny dog or cat in light of that. Typically, skunks won’t eat pets. However, pets have the power to terrify them and make them violent. Skunks won’t kill pets, but they can seriously hurt them and probably make them smell unpleasant as well.

Final thoughts

Final thoughts

Skunks are opportunistic eaters, therefore they must adjust to their surroundings and the time of year in order to find food.

Skunks frequently devour food that is not intended for them in backyards because of this. They will be drawn to three things: trash, pet food, and bird seed. Since they don’t provide good nutrition for skunks, try to keep these food sources away from them. Additionally, you don’t want to invite skunks into your yard where they could harm your plants.

Related questions

What are skunks favorite food?

Skunks will consume grass and vegetables, but they prefer meat. Other typical food sources include insects, small animals, birds, eggs, poultry, worms, fruit, grubs, and grasshoppers. Both honey and foods with a strong stench will draw skunks.

What do skunks eat at night?

Real omnivorous mammals include skunks. They eat at night and will eat fruit, berries, various plants, insects, rodents, frogs, crayfish, and bird eggs and nestlings. Skunks will consume almost anything they can capture or find.

What attracts skunks at night?

Skunks are attracted to low-hanging fruit like pet food and trash left out at night, as well as practical denning places like wood and rock heaps, elevated sheds, and gaps beneath concrete slabs and porches and crawl spaces.

How do you keep skunks away from you at night?

Skunks are nocturnal creatures with highly sensitive eyes. Skunks can be scared away at night by using a motion-activated light or powerful LED lights on a timer.

What can I give a skunk to eat?

Skunks eat whole prey, insects, eggs, and some fruit and vegetable waste as part of their natural diet. Skunks have been successfully fed a variety of diets in zoos. We advise feeding your dog a diet made up of 75% prepared food (zoo omnivore, insectivore, and low-fat high quality dog food) and 25% fresh produce.


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Sarah Green

Wildlife and Nature Fan & Author