Striped skunk eating food from a bowl.
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What Do Skunks Eat?

Skunks are fascinating creatures. Not only can they survive in various environments, but their ability to adapt and eat almost anything gives them an edge over other animals.

From small mammals to pest insects, as well as fruits, nuts, or even human garbage – these omnivorous creatures have proven capable of surviving with whatever nature throws at them.

Understanding a skunk’s diet is essential when it comes to protecting them from potential predators. Let’s look at some of the different food items that a skunk might eat.

Key Pest Points:

• Skunks are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals.

• Small mammals like mice, rabbits, and squirrels are prevalent skunk food sources. Insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, and caterpillars also comprise a large portion of the skunk diet.

• Some foods toxic to skunks are avocados, chocolate, and onions.

Insects

Skunks are true masters of their craft when chowing down on insects. Not only do these critters consume various bug types, but they also depend on them for essential nutrients. Here are some of the most common insects that skunk feed on beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, moths, worms and spiders.

These protein sources help skunks live a healthy life. And they will often dig in the ground to find these insects. The skunk will then use their claws to catch the prey.

Small Mammals

Skunks love protein, so it’s no surprise that they also eat small mammals. They are more likely to hunt these down than scavenge them. This can include mice, rats, moles, squirrels, snakes and chipmunks.

These outdoor pests have a unique way of hunting – they incapacitate their prey with a quick bite to the neck or head, then haul them back home for an all-you-can-eat feast. Protein is essential in any diet, and these four-legged hunters take full advantage.

The striped skunk with one paw on a black cherry on the ground.

Fruits and Nuts

Skunks also eat various fruits and nuts in the wild. They will often look for fruits and nuts that have fallen from trees. They can also crack open nuts with their claws, making them an excellent food source. Some of the fruits they eat include: elderberry, cranberry, walnuts, pecans and hickory nuts.

These are a great source of energy for the skunk, providing them with vitamins and minerals. The skunk will use its sharp claws to crack open nuts and fruit to enjoy the tasty treat. This is an essential part of their diet as it helps them stay healthy and full.

Garbage

Skunks have incredibly sensitive noses that can lead them to an irresistible meal – your trashcan. If food scraps are carelessly left exposed, these curious critters will happily accept the invitation for an easy dinner. To prevent unpleasant encounters with skunks and avoid potential harm, securely store your garbage away from their sharp sniffers.

Overall, skunks have a varied diet that helps them survive in different habitats. From insects to small mammals, fruits and nuts, and even garbage, they have many sources of food to rely on. Understanding their diet is essential when it comes to protecting them from predators as well as helping us coexist peacefully.

How Do Skunks Find Food?

Skunks can deftly navigate the environment using their acute sense of smell and hearing, allowing them to spot potential prey from afar. Though they possess weak eyesight, this does not stop skunks from foraging with ease.

They also have an impressive digging ability, which they use to forage their environment in search of food. With a broad plant and animal material diet, these nimble omnivores always search for something new.

Identifying skunk tracks or their dens can help us understand their habits and behavior. Knowing what they are eating in our area enables us to protect them and prevent unwanted encounters.

What Else Do Skunks Eat?

In addition to their regular diet of insects, small mammals, fruits, and nuts, skunks will occasionally eat eggs and birds. They also enjoy snacking on worms, other invertebrates, and baby rabbits.

Skunks are opportunistic feeders who take advantage of whatever food sources they can find. This is why keeping your garbage secure is essential, as this will help protect skunks from getting into something harmful.

What Foods Are Toxic to Skunks?

Just like other animals, certain foods are toxic to skunks. Some of these include:

  • Onions: has a compound called thiosulfate, which can be harmful to skunks if consumed in large amounts.
  • Chocolate: contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and skunks.
  • Avocado: contains persin, which can be poisonous for skunks if consumed in large amounts.
  • Cat food: contains high amounts of fat and protein, which can be dangerous for the skunk’s digestive system.

Keeping these foods away from skunks is essential, as consuming them could lead to serious health problems. It is also advisable to avoid feeding wild skunks as this encourages them to come too close to and can be dangerous to humans by increasing the chance of rabies transmission.

Striped skunk liking peanut butter from a rock, with trees in the background.

How To Deter Skunks From Your Property

If you’ve had skunks on your property, you can do a few things and would like to deter them. Here are some tips to help keep skunks away:

Following these steps can help discourage skunks from making your home their own. Skunks are interesting animals, but they can cause problems if they’re allowed to reside in your yard. Understanding skunk diet and food habits is critical to helping us coexist peacefully. 

But if all else fails, install a skunk trap and contact a wildlife professional for relocation services. With a little effort, you can ensure that skunks don’t become a nuisance on your property.

FAQ

What do skunks like to eat the most?

Skunks have a varied diet, and although they prefer meat, they enjoy many different types of food, including insects, small mammals, fruits and nuts, eggs, birds, worms, and other invertebrates.

How many times a day does a skunk eat?

Skunks will typically eat multiple times a day, depending on food availability. They may eat small amounts throughout the day or larger meals with plentiful food.

When do skunks come out to eat?

Skunks are most active at night, so they may come out to search for food during the evening and early morning hours. They use their sense of smell and hearing to find food in their environment.

What do skunks eat in the wild?

Skunks typically eat insects, small mammals, fruits and nuts, eggs, birds, worms, and other invertebrates in the wild. They are also adept diggers and will often search the ground for food. Additionally, they may explore different habitats to find both plant-based and animal-based sources of food.

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