When to comes to finding a food source, skunks are not overly picky and will often rely on creatures in the wild that are smaller in size. Skunks do have an effective spray that is used for self defense, but they are not known for having the ability to combat other animals and kill. This means that skunks have to keep things quite simple when they are seeking food and they must look for small animals that will not pose any challenge. If they cannot find prey, they will result to foraging and will eat non-animal materials to sustain.
Many humans consider a skunk to be a nuisance and are fearful of their potent and long lasting odor. However, these mammals are actually quit e beneficial to humans as they prey on creatures that are harmful. Many yard pests like snakes, roaches, spiders and scorpions are on the menu for a skunk, as are smaller rodents, especially mice. Based on previous research, the diet of a skunk can be made of up as much as 70% of harmful insects. Some of the common pests that skunks will ingest include:
- Black widow spiders
A skunk may have an insect based diet, but they also eat small animals that are helpless prey. These include field mice, rabbits and voles and in some cases, a skunk will target ground nesting birds, fish and some small reptiles and amphibians.
Skunks will often prefer an animal to eat over plants, but depending on the time of year, they may have to rely on foraging to find food. Winter and fall seasons restrict the availability of food sources and during these cold months, a skunk will rely on any small prey they can get. They will eat food that is not fresh and prefer foods that fall to the ground and are accessible. Due to these habits, skunks often eat fruits and crops that are rotting and would not be harvested by humans.
These mammals are not picky when it comes to eating and will often raid garbage cans, which can include many of the preferred foods they seek. Here, skunks can find a steady source of rodents and rotting food and they are known to rummage through dumpsters and trash cans to seek out a meal. This is one of the reasons many humans have a negative outlook on the animal.
The eating habits are constant and the only changes are that in the winter months where food can become scarce. Since a skunk does not hibernate, they are always out looking for a food source and will rely on whatever they can find. They often eat the very first thing they come across and then move on to find additional sources of nourishment. Skunks will not prey on any animal that is larger in size, so they are not feared by many.