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Do Skunks Eat Bird Seed: 7 Tips To Deter Them

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Skunks are animals known for their black-and-white colors and strong smell. They grab our attention and make us cautious. These small creatures are part of the Mephitidae family.

They have a unique way of defending themselves by spraying a stinky liquid from their behinds when they feel threatened. 

Skunks eat both plants and animals, so they’re called omnivores. 

They play an important role in nature by eating insects and sometimes catching small rodents, which helps control pests. 

Skunks also help with decomposition by eating dead animals, which helps nutrients go back into the soil. 

One common question people have about skunks is whether they eat birdseed. 

To understand more about skunks and how to peacefully coexist with them, let’s explore their eating habits and behaviors.

Do Skunks Eat Bird Seed?

skunks on grass

Skunks are natural scavengers, which means they like to search for food wherever they can find it. 

They’re not picky eaters and will eat almost anything they come across, including birdseed.

While their favorite foods are small animals like mice or voles, skunks will happily munch on bird seed, especially in the fall and winter when it’s harder for them to find food in nature.

In the spring and summer, skunks might still nibble on bird seed if they stumble upon it, but they’re more interested in other foods like insects, eggs, fruits, berries, plants, and even dead animals

Skunks play an important role in nature by helping to clean up dead animals.

However, having skunks around your bird feeders can cause problems. 

Skunks are attracted to bird feeders because they’re an easy source of food, and they can end up damaging the feeders while looking for a meal.

Why Do Skunks Eat Bird Seed?

Skunks are nocturnal creatures often seen foraging in trash cans or raiding gardens. One of their favorite foods is bird seed. 

While it may seem like an odd food choice, there are a few reasons why skunks like to eat birdseed. 

For one thing, birdseed is packed with nutrients that skunks need to survive. In addition, birdseed is relatively easy to find and eat. 

Skunks don’t have to do much work to get a meal, which is important since they are relatively lazy creatures. 

Finally, skunks enjoy the taste of birdseed. While the seeds may not seem appealing to humans, skunks find them delicious. 

Many skunks will choose to eat birdseed over other types of food. 

So, don’t be alarmed the next time you see a skunk raiding your bird feeder. The skunk is following its instincts and trying to get a nutritious meal.

What is the Diet of Baby Skunks?

During the initial stages of their lives, baby skunks, or kits, primarily rely on their mother’s milk for nutrition. 

Skunk mothers nurse their offspring for several weeks, providing vital nutrients and antibodies crucial for their growth and development.

As young skunks mature and become more self-sufficient, they gradually transition to solid foods. 

The mother skunk plays a crucial role in this transition by introducing her kits to various foods found in their environment. 

She teaches them how to search for insects, Vegetables, fruits, berries, and other common sources of sustenance for adult skunks.

Essentially, the diet of baby skunks follows a pattern similar to that of adult skunks, shifting from dependence on maternal milk to a diverse range of solid foods as they mature and learn to survive independently in their natural surroundings. 

If you have pet skunks, we will delve into their dietary needs in detail below.

Pet Skunks Diet: Caring & Feeding Tips

1. Protein Power: For your skunk’s diet, focus on protein as the main component, making up around 60-70% of their food. Choose lean meats such as cooked chicken, turkey, or fish. 

You can also give them cooked eggs, boiled bones (make sure they don’t splinter), or high-quality dog food that’s packed with protein. 

These protein sources help meet their dietary needs and provide essential amino acids.

2. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in your skunk’s diet, aiming for about 30-40% of their food intake. 

Provide colorful vegetables like chopped carrots, broccoli, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. 

Skunks also love fruits such as apples, berries, bananas, and melons. Remember to steer clear of onions, garlic, and avocados, as these can harm skunks.

3. Avoid Harmful Foods: Stay away from feeding your pet skunk foods that can be harmful to them, like chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, and grapes.

These items can cause harm and should be kept away from your skunk’s reach.

4. Keep Them Hydrated: Make sure your skunk always has clean water to drink.

Change their water regularly to keep it fresh.

5. Feed Them Twice a Day: Skunks like to eat twice a day, so try to match their natural habits.

6. Give Them Variety: Introduce new foods slowly to prevent them from being picky eaters and to keep them healthy.

7. Watch How Much They Eat: Keep an eye on how much your skunk eats to avoid overfeeding.

Too much food can make them gain too much weight and have health problems.

8. See a Vet: Take your skunk to a vet who knows about exotic pets for regular check-ups.

They can help you keep your skunk healthy and answer any questions you have about their diet.

Before getting a pet skunk, check if it’s allowed where you live and if you can take good care of it.

If you’re not sure, think about helping out at places that take care of wildlife instead. 

By giving your skunk the right food and care, you can keep it healthy and happy for a long time.

What is the Foraging and Hunting Behavior of Skunks?

Skunks have unique habits when it comes to finding food and hunting, mostly because they eat both plants and animals and prefer to be active at night. 

They use their strong sense of smell to sniff out things like bugs, small animals, and fruits, even when it’s dark. 

Skunks are also really good at digging, so they can find food hidden in the ground.

Sometimes they’ll scavenge for food, like digging through trash cans or checking out bird feeders. 

They’re pretty good climbers too, which helps them get into bird nests for eggs or baby birds.

Depending on the time of year, skunks might focus more on certain foods. 

For example, in warmer months, they might eat more insects and fruits, while in colder times, they might do more scavenging. 

Knowing all this helps us understand how skunks fit into the environment and how we can peacefully share space with them.

How Do You Keep Skunks Away From Bird Seeds?

Skunks are well-known for their signature stripe and pungent odor.

While skunks do not typically eat bird seed, they are attracted to the high-fat content and will often tear open bags or raid bird feeders in search of an easy meal. 

Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can take to keep skunks away from your birdseed.

1. Bring Your Feeders In At Night

Skunks are nocturnal creatures and will typically only raid bird feeders at night.

Bring your feeders in at night to deter skunks from getting to the seed. 

This is one of the best ways to keep skunks away from your bird feeder.

If their food source is not readily available, skunks will move on in search of an easier meal.

2. Keep Your Yard Clean

Skunks are attracted to yards cluttered with garbage or overgrown vegetation.

By keeping your yard clean and free of debris, you can make it less appealing to skunks. 

Be sure to dispose of garbage properly and trim back any overgrown plants. But the easiest way is to bring the bird feeder inside at night.  

3. Use A Baffle

A baffle is a device you can attach to your bird feeder, making it difficult for animals to access the seed. 

Using a baffle, you can keep skunks (and other animals) from getting to the bird seed.

Baffles come in various shapes and sizes, so be sure to choose one that is appropriate for your feeder. 

The main type of baffle is a cone-shaped baffle that fits over the top of the feeder and prevents animals from reaching the seed.

4. Use A Motion-Activated Sprinkler

Skunks (and other animals) will avoid your yard if you use motion-activated sprinklers.

These devices detect movement and will activate a spray of water when triggered. 

The sudden blast of water will startle skunks and cause them to flee the area.

Motion-activated sprinklers are a great way to keep your yard skunk-free.  

5. Take Away Their Food Source

If skunks are coming into your yard in search of food, removing their food source is the best way to deter them. 

This means keeping your garbage cans securely lidded and not leaving pet food outdoors.

By taking away the skunks’ food source, you can encourage them to find food elsewhere.

6. Cover Your Bird Seed

One of the simplest ways to keep skunks away from your bird seed is to cover the seed. 

You can use a tarp or a piece of hardware cloth to create a barrier between the seed and the skunks. 

This will prevent skunks from being able to access the seed and will deter them from raiding your bird feeder.  

7. Trap And Release

If you have a skunk repeatedly raiding your bird feeder, you may need to take more drastic measures. 

One option is to trap the skunk and release it in a different location.

You should only do this if you are comfortable handling wildlife and have the proper permits. 

If you decide to trap a skunk, be sure to wear gloves and avoid getting sprayed.

Skunks can be tricky to trap, so hiring a professional wildlife control operator may be best.

These are a few simple steps that you can take to keep skunks away from your birdseed.

Following these tips can deter skunks from raiding your bird feeder and keep your yard skunk-free.

Habitat of Skunks


Skunks are flexible animals found in many places throughout North and Central America.

While we often see them in forests, fields, and farms, they can also live comfortably in towns and cities.

They like habitats near water, like rivers or ponds, and places with lots of plants for hiding and finding food. 

Skunks build their homes in various spots like hollow logs, underground tunnels, or even under buildings.

In urban areas, you might spot skunks in parks, gardens, or abandoned places. They come here because there’s plenty of food like bugs, small animals, fruits, veggies, and trash.

In short, skunks can live well in different environments, thanks to their ability to find shelter, water, and food.

Predators of Skunks

Skunks are well-known for their strong smell and for being active at night.

They don’t have as many enemies as some other animals, but they still have predators to watch out for.

Great Horned Owls are good at catching small animals like skunks, using their quiet flying and sharp claws. 

Coyotes are sneaky hunters and might try to eat skunks even though they can spray.

Red foxes and bobcats are also skilled at hunting skunks, using their speed and patience to catch them. 

Even dogs, especially ones that aren’t kept on a leash, can be a danger to skunks, especially in cities and neighborhoods. 

But skunks have a trick up their sleeve: they can spray a strong smell from their behinds, which usually scares away predators. It’s like a built-in defense system that helps keep them safe.

Wrapping Up,

To sum up, skunks are creatures that mainly come out at night but sometimes venture out during the day, especially when they’re looking for food. 

If you see a skunk during daylight, it’s a good idea to remove any food that might be attracting them. 

For instance, if a skunk keeps coming to your bird feeder, and you can’t find its home, you might need to take more serious steps like using nets to catch and release it elsewhere.

Dealing with skunks can be tricky, so it’s best to get help from a professional if you’re not sure what to do.

Thank you for taking the time to read!


Do skunks scare birds away?

Skunks generally don’t scare birds away on purpose.
However, if skunks are raiding bird feeders or scavenging in areas where birds feed, their presence might make birds feel uneasy and temporarily keep them away.

What do skunks like to eat at night?

Skunks are omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and animals.
At night, they may feast on a variety of foods including insects, small mammals like mice, fruits, berries, and vegetation.

Can skunks eat peanuts?

Skunks can eat peanuts along with other nuts and seeds, but it’s not recommended to feed them directly.
While they may enjoy peanuts as part of their diet, offering them in bird feeders or on the ground may attract skunks and potentially other wildlife to your yard, which could lead to unwanted encounters.

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