Hawks are carnivores and opportunistic feeders. They eat nearly anything they can get their claws on. But do hawks eat skunks?
To humans, skunks are kinda-cute — albeit smelly — creatures that scurry about. But to hawks, skunks might mean a lot more.
To answer your question, yes, hawks will eat skunks, if given the opportunity. However, there are some species of hawks that are more likely to make a meal of a skunk, and actually specialize in hunting and eating skunks.
If you have a skunk problem on your property, you may consider hiring a hawk to take care of it for you!
How Are Skunks Related to Hawks?
Skunks and hawks are both members of the animal kingdom, but they are not closely related. Skunks belong to the family Mustelidae, which includes weasels, otters, and badgers. Hawks are members of the Accipitridae family, which includes eagles and kites.
However, there are some similarities between these two groups of animals. Both skunks and hawks are predators, and they both have sharp claws that they use to kill their prey.
In addition, both animals are native to North America. Hawks tend to live in open areas such as fields and meadows, while skunks prefer wooded areas and dense forests.
What Type of Hawk Eats Skunks?
The Cooper’s hawk is the main type of hawk that preys on skunks. The Cooper’s hawk is a medium-sized hawk that ranges in length from 14 to 19 inches and has a wingspan of 26 to 35 inches.
This hawk has a rusty-red cap, barred chest, and rounded tail. It hunts by perching in a tree and watching for prey below, then diving down to capture it. Typically, Cooper’s hawks prey on small birds, but they will also eat rodents, reptiles, and invertebrates.
When hunting skunks, the Cooper’s hawk usually waits until the skunk is asleep before swooping down to attack. The Cooper’s hawk has long been considered one of the most skillful and effective hunters in North America.
Do Hawks Hunt Skunks?
Hawks are one of the most common predators in North America. There are over a dozen species of hawks, and they can be found in nearly every habitat. While most hawks primarily eat small mammals such as rodents or rabbits, they will also hunt other animals if the opportunity arises.
This includes skunks. Skunks are relatively small animals and lack the speed and agility to escape from a hawk’s talons. As a result, they are easy prey for these predators.
In addition, skunks are not known for being particularly aggressive, so they rarely put up a fight when attacked.
It should be noted that not all hawks hunt skunks. But for the most part, hawks will hunt any animal that they think they can take down.
Can Hawks Pick Up Skunks?
The thing about skunks is that they’re nocturnal animals. So, it’s unlikely you’ll see one during the day. Hawks are diurnal, which means they’re active during the day and asleep at night.
So, unless a hawk is hunting at night, it’s unlikely that it will come across a skunk. Furthermore, even if a hawk did hunt at night, it’s unlikely that it would be able to pick up a skunk.
Skunks are indeed small animals, however, their Ursidae family genes give them large muscles and bones relative to their size. This makes skunks heavier than they look, and much too heavy for a hawk to pick up. Skunks are so heavy that even some adult male lions have been known to avoid confrontation with them!
So, unless you see a skunk flying overhead being carried by a hawk, you can rest assured that these two animals are not interacting with each other in the wild.
Do Hawks Eat Dead Skunks?
Do hawks eat dead skunks? The answer is yes, they do. Hawks are scavengers, which means that they take advantage of any food source, including carrion (dead animals).
Many hawks prefer to eat carrion because it is easier than catching live prey. Dead skunks certainly fall into this category, and so hawks will often feast on them.
Of course, eating a dead skunk may not be the most pleasant experience, but it is certainly better than going hungry. So, next time you see a dead skunk on the side of the road, just remember that it may provide a meal for some lucky hawk!
Hawks will hunt any animal that they think they can take down. Skunks are also sluggish and docile, so they seldom put up a fight when harassed.
However, not all hawks kill skunks. The skunk is surprisingly heavy and hawks are unlikely to come into contact with these nocturnal animals very often.
Nevertheless, hawks are scavengers and will absolutely eat a dead skunk, if available. So, if you see a dead skunk on the side of the road, just remember that it is providing a meal for some lucky hawk!