|Hooded skunk range|
It can be distinguished from the similar striped skunk (M. mephitis) by its longer tail and longer, much softer coat of fur, and larger tympanic bullae.2 A ruff of white fur around its neck gives the animal its common name. Three color phases are known and in all three, a thin white medial stripe is present between the eyes: black-backed with two lateral white stripes, white-backed with one dorsal white stripe, or entirely black with a few white hairs in the tail.34
The hooded skunk ranges from the Southwestern United States to southern Mexico, but is most abundant in Mexico. These skunks are found to be 50% or less smaller in size in southern Mexico than in the Southwestern United States.5 It is found in grasslands, deserts, and in the foothills of mountains, avoiding high elevations. It tends to live near a water source, such as a river. The females tend to be 15% smaller in size than the males6 and their breeding season is between February and March.4 The litter size ranges from three to eight.7
The diet of the hooded skunk consists mostly of vegetation, especially prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), but it will readily consume insects, small vertebrates, and bird eggs,4 as well. No cases of rabies are reported,89 but they host a range of parasites, including nematodes, roundworms, and fleas.4
Hooded skunks are solitary, but they might interact at a feeding ground without showing any signs of aggression.10 They shelter in a burrow or a nest of thick plant cover during the day and are active at night. In Costa Rica, hooded skunks do not break eggs with their mouths or throwing them at hard surfaces; but instead they break them by throwing at their back legs.5 Like M. mephitis, for self-defense, they spray volatile components from their anal glands.11!
Hooded skunks are currently not endangered. They are very abundant in Mexico and can live in human suburban areas mostly on pastures and cultivated fields.12 Their fur has low economic value.7 However, their fat11 and scent glands10 can be used for medicinal purposes. In some parts of their range, their flesh is considered a delicacy.13 Other common names for the hooded skunk include: mofeta rayada (Spanish), moufette à capuchon (French), pay (Maya), southern skunk, white-sided skunk, and zorillo.14
- Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F. & Helgen, K. (2008). Mephitis macroura. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
- Hall, E. R. (1981). The mammals of North America. Second edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 601–1181.
- Hoffmeister, D. F. (1986). Mammals of Arizona. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.
- Patton, R. F. (1974). Ecological and behavioral relationships of the skunks of Trans Pecos Texas. Ph.D. dissertation. Texas A&M University. p. 199.
- Janzen, D. H. and W. Hallwachs (1982). The hooded skunk, Mephitis macroura, in lowland northwestern Costa Rica. Brenesia. pp. 19/20:549–552.
- Rosatte, R. C. (1987). Striped, spotted, hooded, and hog-nosed skunk. Toronto, Canada: Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
- Bailey, V. (1932). "Mammals of New Mexico". North American Fauna (53): 1–412.
- Aranda, M.; L. Lopez-De Buen (1999). "Rabies in skunks from Mexico". Journal of Wildlife Diseases (35): 574–577.
- Ceballos, G., And A. Miranda (1986). Los mamiferos de Chmela, Jalisco: manual de campo. Mexico City, Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
- Reid, F. A. (1997). A field guide to the mammals of Central America and south east Mexico. New York: Oxford University Press.
- Dalquest, W. W. (1953). Mammals of the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. Balton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
- Yeen, Ten Hwang; Serge Lariviere (26 December 2001). "Mephitis macroura". Mammalian Species (686): 1–3.
- Davis, W. B. (1944). "Notes on Mexican mammals". Journal of Mammalogy (25): 370–402.
- Borror, D. J. (1960). Dictionary of word roots and combining forms. Palo Alto, California: National Press Books.