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What Do Skunks Eat?

What Do Skunks Eat?

Skunks might be smelly but they sure are beautiful animals.  These mammals belong to the Mustelidae family and are best known for a defensive strategy they use to scare off people and other intruders.  They spray a strong unpleasant smelling liquid at intruders that is very hard to wash off from your clothes or other belongings.

There are twelve species of skunk but only four of these species are likely to ever come near your home.  When they do come to your property, it is usually in search of something to eat and not to harm anyone in your family.

What Do Skunks Eat

Skunks are omnivorous animals with sharp teeth and strong jaws.  Like other omnivores, they do eat a huge variety of foods.  They can also be annoying around garbage cans because of their diverse diet.  Here is a quick look at the most common foods these animals love to eat.

Insects

These omnivores love to eat all sorts of insects.  They enjoy eating insect larvae, earthworms, grubs, crickets, roaches, grasshoppers, moths, ants, caterpillars, worms, and various other types of insects that they find.  Skunks can even eat bees and are quite resistant to their sting.

Small animals and eggs

These animals also catch and eat other small animals and insects.  They will eat rodents, mice, lizards, salamanders, frogs, snakes, birds, and moles. They also visit bird or chicken nests so they can steal and eat eggs.  All of these foods are a valuable source of protein.

Fruits and vegetables

Skunks also eat certain fruit and vegetables.  They are especially fond of fruits like berries, grapes, apples, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, frozen fruits, and many others they might find on fruit farms.
Skunks can also eat certain vegetables like carrots, beets, corn cob, peas, beans, cabbage, and many others.  You can even offer skunks cooked and cooled vegetables to feed on.

Plants

These hungry animals eat a variety of pant types.  They enjoy digging out roots in the wild so they can stay hydrated but will also feed on soft green leaves, twigs, and flowers.  They are quite fond of all sorts of edible plants and crops.

Carcasses and carrion

Skunks are not shy to feed on dead carcasses of other animals like rats, snakes, frogs, and cats.  They might even feed on the carcasses of larger animals like deer, sheep, cattle, and others if they happen to find these carcasses.

Pet food

If you see a skunk breaking into your home or garage then it is likely seeking out your pet’s food bowls.  Skunks love pet food and will eat almost anything you offer your pets.  They enjoy cat food and dog kibble and are perfectly fine digesting these foods.

Honey

Skunks also enjoy honey.  Their thick hides help protect them from the stings of honeybees when they climb into their hives to steal their honey.  Skunks also enjoy eating bees and the larvae of bees when they visit hives.

Water

Skunks don’t drink much water but they do still need water to stay hydrated.  They usually drink water after eating so they can digest their foods better.  If you are offering foods to skunks in your garden then you can leave out a bit of water as well.

Diet Variation

The biggest diet variations for skunks are that they sometimes eat unnatural foods that are normally unavailable in their natural habitat.  Skunks will dig around in trash cans in search of human foods such and leftovers.  Foods like bread, cake, cookies, fries, chips, and many others are not ideal for their bodies since these contain various salts, sugars, and spices.

How to Feed Skunks

If you want to feed skunks that visit your back yard then you should leave out healthy foods for them to eat along with a little bit of freshwater.  Try to offer different food types such as fruits, veggies, meat, and grains so skunks can get all the nutrients they need to survive harsh winters.

What do Skunks Eat in the Wild?

In the wild, skunks only eat what they find in their natural habitat.  This usually includes natural vegetation, wild berries, insects, plant roots, carcasses, water, and other small animals such as rodents and lizards that they manage to catch.

What do Skunks Eat in Captivity?

In zoos and animal parks, skunks are often fed on a variety of foods such as insects, snakes, fruits, vegetables, lean meats like chicken or fish, cooked grains, and many others.  The diets of these skunks are carefully monitored to ensure that they receive all the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

What do Baby Skunks Eat?

Baby skunks are called kits and mammals rely on their mother’s milk for survival.  Skunk kits are usually weaned when they are about 8 inches long or four months old.  Orphaned kits can also be reared by offering them specialized formula milk that contains 3.3% fat.

When skunk kits start to wean, they will learn to eat other foods.  Post-weaning, they need about 80% vegetables and fruits and 20% protein food like dog kibble, turkey, chicken, or fish.

How much do Skunks Eat?

Kit skunks need to eat four times per day.  As small kits, they only need about 3 tablespoons of food per meal.  As they grow older, their food intake gradually increases.

Pet skunks need to be offered small portions of food because they do not get as much exercise as wild skunks do and wild skunks do not always have access to food.  An average skunk weighs 7 – 8 pounds and only need about ¼ cup of meat per day and 1 tablespoon of feeder insects along with some fruits and veggies.

How often do Skunks Eat?

In the wild, skunks might need to hold out for several days before they can find enough food.  In captivity, skunks are usually fed 2 times per day and their portions are monitored since they have no fasting period in between to digest everything they ate.

Do Skunks Eat Meat?

Yes, skunks do eat meat.  In the wild, they will catch smaller insects like rodents and feast.  They will also feed on carcasses of other animals such as cats and rats if they happen to find these.  Pet skunks are however fed on lean meats such as chicken, fish, and red meats to ensure that they get enough protein.

Do Skunks Eat Rabbits?

Skunks will feed on rabbit carcasses and might even catch a small rabbit to feed on.  These animals are however a bit unlikely to catch a rabbit because they are a bit slower.

Do Skunks Eat Snakes?

Skunks can eat snakes and they are quite resilient against the venom.  Snakes also have a tough time biting through the thick back hides of skunks.  But if a snake does inject enough venom, it can kill a skunk.