As omnivores, skunks maintain a diet comprised of both plant and animal matter. They consume more of certain foodstuffs depending on the season and availability. For example, skunks favor insects, like grasshoppers, bees, beetles, beetle larvae, and crickets, and target these food sources during the spring and summer when the pests are most plentiful.
During the winter months, skunks scavenge for fruits, nuts, garden plants, garbage, bird seed, and pet food. Mice are also popular skunk meals during the fall and winter. Rats, rabbits, and other small mammals are eaten as a last resort, and skunks occasionally kill poultry to eat their eggs.
Since skunks dig obtrusive, cone-shaped holes in yards to look for grubs and camp out in sheds, barns, and under porches when ample food sources are nearby, limiting food availability is an integral part of skunk prevention. Feeding pets inside, cleaning up bird seed litter, and keeping poultry housed in coops are excellent first steps to take.
As grubs travel up to the surface when lawns are saturated, ensuring that water properly drains away from yards and avoiding overwatering helps limit skunk activity, as well. Similarly, taking measures to exclude rodents from private properties will reduce the possibility of attracting skunks. This entails removing clutter from basements and attics, sealing outdoor trash bins with fitted lids, and regularly vacuuming around the home.