Western hog-nosed skunk

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Western hog-nosed skunk
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mephitidae
Genus: Conepatus
Species: C. mesoleucus
Binomial name
Conepatus mesoleucus
(Lichtenstein, 1832)

Recent work has concluded that the western hog-nosed skunk or common hog-nosed skunk (formerly Conepatus mesoleucus) is the same species as the American hog-nosed skunk, and that Conepatus leuconotus is the correct name of the merged populations.[1][2] This species of hog-nosed skunk is native from the southwestern United States (Arizona to southern Texas) south through Mexico to Nicaragua. In Texas, it is commonly known as the rooter skunk for its habit of rooting and overturning rocks and debris in search of food.

The western hog-nosed skunk is a large skunk averaging about 55–60 cm in total length, with males slightly larger than females. Western hog-nosed skunks have a single, broad white stripe from the top of the head to the base of the tail, with the tail itself being completely white. The rest of the body is black.

This species tends to inhabit rocky foothills and brushy areas where den space is readily available, avoiding hot deserts and forests. It is omnivorous, feeding primarily on insects and vegetation, though it will take small mammals and reptiles when available. While sometimes considered a pest by crop farmers due to their rooting habits, this is largely misplaced, as it generally prefers insects to agricultural plants. Like all skunk species, it possesses powerful anal glands used to deter would-be attackers.

Though not threatened through most of its range, one subspecies, the big thicket hog-nosed skunk (C. m. telmalestes) of southeastern Texas, is now considered extinct by the IUCN.


  1. ^ a b Cuarón AD & Helgen H (2008). "Conepatus leuconotus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2008. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  2. ^ Western Hog-nosed Skunk. Museum.utep.edu. Retrieved on 2012-12-31.

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