Animals have different classifications based on what they eat. They can either be categorized as carnivores, herbivores, or omnivores. Carnivores are creatures whose diet consists mainly of meat, while herbivores feed primarily on plants. On the other hand, omnivores are animals that consume both plants and meat.
Of all animals at present, only 3% are omnivores, 32% are herbivores, and carnivores make up the vast 63%. So, if you’re wondering, what category do skunks fall under?
Are Skunks Omnivores?
Skunks belong to the small category of omnivores. However, their diet depends largely on what’s available to them. Skunks mainly eat small mammals, insects, and grubs in the wild. If they can’t find these food items, they will also munch on fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
In terms of preferred food sources, skunks go for soft-bodied creatures such as snails, slugs, grubs, and worms. These animals are easy to catch and provide a good source of nutrients for the skunk. Birds, rodents, and rabbits are also commonly eaten by skunks.
Also, skunks eat carrion, which are carcasses of dead animals.
What is the Diet of a Skunk?
Skunks are opportunistic feeders, meaning they will take advantage of whatever food is available. So if you’re wondering what skunks like to eat the most, the answer is that it depends on what’s available to them.
But just like other animals, skunks have the ultimate meals and snacks they love. Here are the following:
The vegetables that skunks enjoy are squash, green beans, carrots, and potatoes. While these may not be the first food items that come to mind when you think of a skunk’s diet, they enjoy munching on these vegetables.
When it comes to fruits, skunks love eating apples, watermelons, and cantaloupes the most. These fruits are not only delicious but are also a good source of vitamins and minerals for skunks. Apples, in particular, are a favorite among skunks. They are a good source of fiber for these stinky rodents.
When skunks find no more fruits and vegetables, plants are their go-to. This is because plants are accessible and are everywhere. Almost every plant is edible too. Some of the plants that skunks like to eat are clover, grass, and dandelions.
While these may not be the most nutrient-rich food items, they provide skunks with the necessary sustenance.
Skunks are known to be insectivores, meaning their diet consists mainly of insects. This is because insects are easy to catch and are a good source of protein. Some insects that skunks like to eat are beetles, moths, grasshoppers, and crickets. These insects provide skunks with the nutrients they need to survive.
It may not show, but skunks can be pretty sneaky. They’re out looking for their favorite small prey when they’re not busy munching on fruits and vegetables. Some small animals that skunks like to eat are rodents, rabbits, and birds. These animals provide skunks with the protein and fat they need to stay healthy.
Does a skunk eat dirt?
You might instantly think of soil and other masses of land when hearing the word “dirt.” But, in this context, “dirt” refers to the pieces of trash in the garbage. So, do skunks eat dirt?
Skunks forage on garbage cans when they are in urban or suburban areas. The odor from different kinds of trash attracts skunks. When they rummage through the garbage, they might come across leftover food, which they would then eat.
This is how they become annoying too. When a skunk finds an open garbage can, it might decide to make a meal out of it and rummage through the contents. This would result in a huge mess no one wants to deal with.
What Are Skunks’ Food Foraging and Hunting Methods?
Although you may see skunks in the daytime, they are still nocturnal animals. They forage for food at night when it’s easier to find prey. Skunks use their keen sense of smell to find food. They can detect the scent of potential prey from afar and would then follow the trail until they find their target.
Once they’re close enough, they would pounce on their prey and kill it with a single bite.
They would then drag their prey to a safe place where they could eat peacefully. Skunks are also known to cache or store food for later. This is why you might see a skunk with its cheeks full of food; it’s keeping the food for later.
Skunks have very poor eyesight. It can be safe to say that they don’t rely on their eyes when searching for a good snack. What they do, though, is rely on their keen smell. They easily track down smelly foods like honey, overripe fruit, and small animals.
Skunks are also known to be scavengers. If they can’t find any prey, they settle for whatever they can find. This includes leftover food, dead animals, and garbage. Moreover, some skunk species can climb trees. So, when they’re in that situation, they can stumble upon birds, nestlings, or their eggs and eat them.
What Do Skunks Eat During Summer?
During summer, the weather is warm, and food is abundant. This is the time when skunks can afford to be picky eaters. They would still eat insects and plants, but they would also look for other food items that are more nutritious and delicious.
Almost all animals are active during the scorching heat of the summer. So, it’s easier for skunks to find small prey. This includes fish, frogs, rats, mice, moles, chipmunks, and other small mammals. But, they would also eat fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, cantaloupes, berries, and corn on the cob that are in season.
Skunks would also eat eggs during summer. This is because they can find more nests during this season. The warmer weather also means that the eggs are easier to find.
Lastly, skunks would also eat dead animals. This is because they have more opportunities to find carcasses during summer. The warmer weather also speeds up the decomposition process, making the meat easier to eat.
What Do Skunks Eat During the Winter?
Contrary to the feast skunks have during summer, the winter season is the point of their lives where food is scarce. So, they must be more resourceful and eat whatever they can find. Often, if they’re in neighborhood areas, they will also consume pet food if left unattended.
During winter, most animals are hibernating. So, the skunks’ options for food are limited. But, they don’t have to worry that much. Because although they do not hibernate, they still enter a phase similar to hibernation. During winter, they sleep for long periods and only wake up to look for food.
When they’re awake, they would first look for cached food. If there’s none, then they would look for dead animals. Again, if they can’t find any, their last resort would be to eat plants. This includes twigs, bark, and roots.
Need Help With A Skunks Infestation In Your Garden?
Foul, stink, pungent, odious, redolent, fetid, putrid, and malodorous. These words often point immediately to the ‘definitely not aromatic’ smell of a skunk’s spray. They reek a very unpleasant smell that can reach some kilometers.
We provide a wide range of services designed to get rid of skunks quickly and efficiently. So, if you’re dealing with skunk problems on your property, get help from the experts! At AAAC Wildlife Removal, we have a team of experienced and qualified professionals who can help you with all your skunk problems.
Most people would say that almost all animals are omnivores. But, the truth is that only 3% of the current existing population are omnivores. 32% belongs to the herbivores, and the significant 63% to the carnivores.
The skunk’s diet consists of insects, small animals, fruits, vegetables, and plants. This makes them members of the small population of omnivores. They’re also known to eat carrion or dead animals that have been preyed upon by other animals or have died naturally. So, if you see a skunk eating something other than insects or small mammals, don’t be surprised! They’re just having a peaceful meal.
What do you feed wild skunks?
The best food for a wild skunk is a cat or dog food. You can also feed skunks with cooked grains, fish, chicken, fresh fruits, and vegetables.
What food is not suitable for skunks?
Do not feed skunks with milk, chocolate, sunflower seeds, and processed foods. These food items can make them sick.
Is it okay to have pet skunks?
Having a pet skunk is generally okay if you take care of it properly. But, you have to check your law. Only 17 states allow this. This includes Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Learn more about other animals
Originally published at AAAC Wildlife Removal: https://aaacwildliferemoval.com/blog/skunks/what-do-skunks-like-to-eat-the-most