Are Ferrets Related to Skunks?

Are Ferrets Related to Skunks?

When it comes to pets, ferrets are quickly becoming a popular animal due to their playful and friendly nature. But what about their relation to skunks. Are ferrets related to skunks?

What are Ferrets?

Ferrets are small, carnivorous mammals that are related to polecats and weasels. They belong to the Mustelidae family of animals which includes skunks. Ferrets are known to have been domesticated for centuries, and they are often kept as companion animals.

What are Skunks?

Skunks are small, omnivorous mammals that belong to the Mephitidae family. Skunks are well known for the collateral they have of being able to emit a very unpleasant odor in order to ward off predators.

Are Ferrets and Skunks Related to Each Other?

Yes, ferrets and skunks are both related to each other as they are both members of the Mustelidae family. While ferrets are more closely related to polecats and weasels, both species share the Mustelidae family.

Differences between Ferrets and Skunks

Despite the fact that ferrets and skunks are related, there are several distinct differences between the two species.

  • Onset of Smell glands – Ferrets don’t have the permanently active smell glands that skunks do.
  • Domestication – Ferrets have been domesticated for centuries, while skunks have only been kept as pets for a much shorter period of time.
  • Size – Skunks are much larger than ferrets, typically growing to the size of a small dog.
  • Digging – While both species are known to dig, skunks are much more adept at it, and are able to dig deeper and more complex tunnels.


Ferrets and skunks are indeed related, as they belong to the same Mustelidae family. However, the two species have many distinct differences, from their size and domestication to the special abilities they have acquired. Ultimately, it is these differences that make these two species so interesting.

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