Are Skunks Rodents? [Find the Truth]

Skunks are the small mammals that you see in the forests, grasslands, woodlands, urban areas, and deserts. Tropically, these nocturnal animals are like in North and South America. 

For their looks and preference for nesting, people often confuse them with rodents. But is a skunk a rodent or do they just look like them? Their appearance might tell you otherwise but they are not rodents. 

Here, we will go through the basics of a skunk along with the details on why they are not considered rodents. Take a look!

Are Skunks Rodents

Are Skunks and Groundhogs Related in Any Way?

Skunks and groundhogs are not related; they belong to different animal families. Skunks are known for their distinct black-and-white coloring and pungent odor, while groundhogs, though similar in appearance, are actually rodents. So the groundhogs and rodents truth is that they have more in common than skunks.

Is a Skunk a Rodent?

A skunk is not a rodent- lookalikes are not always from the same family, you see! The reason people often consider it as a rodent is their outlook. The bushy appearance of a skunk makes them look like groundhogs. 

There are stripped skunks that look like squirrels. They live in forests and woodlands, deserts, and urban areas. Their preference for living is quite similar to that of rodents. 

As people see them in almost identical places and their appearance is similar to some extent- people mistake them for rodents. However, they are not rodents and they have a good number of differences between them. 

Skunks vs. Rodents 

So, flatly, skunks are not rodents. They might have the appearance of a rodent but there are major differences between rodents and skunks. Let’s learn about the dissimilarities between them- 

The Order

The biological order of the skunks and rodents is completely different. Rodents are from the Rodentia order and it is the largest order of mammals. 

Compared to the rodents, the skunks have a smaller range. They are from the Mephitidae family group. Like rodents, they too are mammals but the orders are different. 

The Diet 

The diets of these two animals are different too. Skunks are a diverse group of carnivores and they rely on meat. They gather protein from meat to survive. 

Their major food includes anything that a carnivore animal eats. However, it highly depends on the availability too. In the summer and spring, they depend on bees, beetles, crickets, grasshoppers, etc. 

On the other hand, if it is winter or fall, they go for fruits and nuts or bird seeds and pet food just like the rodents. The scarcity of food makes them go for such food in the winter. 

Conversely, while most rodents are herbivorous, some of them are omnivorous too. They depend on vegetation mostly. 

Prey-Predator Relationship 

Rodents are not necessarily carnivores and so, they rely on fruits and vegetation. But for the skunks, things are different. As they depend on meat, they eat rodents too. 

They search for the small rodents as they are carnivores and depend on meat for survival. In short, rodents and skunks have a pre-predator relationship. 

Defense Mechanism 

Another feature that makes the skunks different from rodents is their unique defense mechanism.  For rodents, when it comes to defending themselves, they bite and scratch like a lot of other animals. 

But for the skunks, there’s a whole new story. Skunks use their spray to defend themselves. They through or douse a unique kind of pungent liquid on the predators. 

The nature of the fluid is to cling to the skin and fur of the animal. And then, it emits a foul odor. It helps them keep away the predators. 

is a Skunks Rodents

Wrap Up 

You see, the differences are quite visible if you take a careful look at the rodents and the skunk. They are from different orders and they have a different diet too. 

Yes, you can domesticate them but in that case, they require intensive care. Besides, they are not legal as pets everywhere.

About Dale E. Bitting

He is the founder of Rodents Info, where he provides comprehensive methods, tips, tricks, and techniques to keep harmful rodents at bay from homes and landscapes. As a rodents expert, he shares valuable information and resources to help safeguard properties against unwelcome critters. Dale is also passionate about nurturing and caring for harmless pet rodents. He offers pet parenting guides, tips, and advice to ensure these furry companions live happy and healthy lives. Join him as he explores the fascinating world of rodents and celebrates the joy they bring to our lives. Learn more..

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