Wild animals can be attracted to homeowners’ yards for a number of reasons with the most likely reason being food. Most animals will return to places where they are able to find an abundance of food. If you have outdoor pets and leave pet food outside, animals will be able to sniff it out and encroach upon your yard. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common wild animals that like to eat pet food.
Animals can be attracted to pet food year-round, especially in winter months when natural food sources are often scarce. The best way to avoid attracting wild animals to your yard is to keep pet food inside and away from unsecured doors.
11 Wild Animals That Eat Pet Food
Foxes are sneaky and clever omnivorous animals that have a varying diet. Their favorite snack consists of small rodents, birds, and amphibians, but they may also eat pet food left outside.
Depending on the area, food tends to be more abundant during warmer months for foxes. Once winter comes around, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a plethora of food sources, leading foxes to sniff out pet food in rural and urban areas.
Known for being opportunistic feeders, raccoons are a common nocturnal animal that will feed on practically anything they can get their paws on. Leaving garbage and pet food outside will attract raccoons that live nearby.
They are omnivores and also quite lazy as they don’t like to work very hard to find food. This causes them to seek out food that is already readily available to them.
3. Black Bears
Black bears have an outstanding sense of smell that will lead them to your yard if you have pet food or other food products in your garbage outside. Homeowners are typically frightened by the sight of black bears close to their doorstep, but they are very timid creatures and not nearly as aggressive as other bear species. However, if a mama bear is with her cubs seeking food, she may be more protective of her young.
Black bears usually only wander into urban areas when they are foraging for food. Keeping pet food and garbage inside will help prevent them from appearing in your yard.
4. Stray Cats
Stray or feral cats are a huge problem in the United States. Cats like to wander and domestic cats will often breed with strays, increasing the population. There are approximately 60-100 million stray cats throughout the U.S.
Leaving cat or dog food outside could attract several stray cats and potentially lead to cat fights amongst your own pet or other strays.
5. House Mice
House mice are the most common mouse species that live in and around homes and other manmade structures. These tiny rodents thrive in human-developed habitats and can be found all over the world. Mice will steal pet food and store it in large amounts around the area they live, including in your own home.
Keeping pet food inside won’t help prevent house mice from getting to it as they are able to sneak into homes through small holes and cracks. Storing food in sealed containers will cut off their food supply and sealing all entry points can prevent house mice from being attracted to your home.
Homeowners face a number of problems when rats come onto their property. If human or pet food is left out in the open and easily accessible, rats will jump at the opportunity to feed on it. This can also lead to other problems.
Rats may seek shelter close to readily available food sources, which can lead to a rat infestation as they populate rapidly. Keeping your property clean and free of pet food or garbage will help prevent rats from emerging.
Skunks are scavengers that like to feed on insects during warmer months. Once food becomes scarce in the winter, they will seek out other food sources including pet food.
Skunks will return to areas with an abundance of food and also seek shelter close by. They like to dig dens and make their way into crawl spaces of manmade structures, which can create other problems for homeowners.
Crows can be found all over the world and they are able to easily adapt to various environments, including heavily urban areas. Crows are extremely intelligent and social birds.
They like to eat harmful garden pests, but are also scavengers that like to pick through garbage and will eat pet food left outside. Crows aren’t terribly harmful to have around, but they can be a nuisance to homeowners who don’t want birds rummaging through their trash.
Opossums are common animals seen lurking around residences. They adapt well to a variety of environments and have learned to live amongst humans. Their diet consists of various fruits, vegetation, small mammals, insects, and even trash.
Since they have a varying diet and are omnivores, possums will venture close to homes and feed on pet food left outside. Despite eating your pet’s food, possums are very helpful creatures that eat other harmful pests that cause homeowners issues.
Coyotes can be found in most regions in North America. Due to increased human development and the natural fluctuation of prey populations, coyotes may travel closer to urban areas in search of food.
They are more common in certain urban areas and typically do not like to get close to humans if it isn’t necessary. If garbage with human food or pet food is left outside and their natural food sources are scarce, they may encroach upon your yard to find food that is readily available.
Bobcats are common wild cats that live in the southern regions of Canada, as far south as Mexico, and all throughout the U.S. Bobcats are more likely to appear on properties in more rural areas as they like to stay away from humans, however, they have been spotted in urban areas.
Much of their diet consists of small mammals, such as rabbits, mice, and squirrels, but they will seek out pet food left outside if they’re struggling to find other food sources.