Mainly a species of Mexico. In the US, found in areas of intermediate elevation in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.
Hooded skunks prefer intermediate elevations, above deserts but below high mountains. They are found in desert scrub, closed basin scrub, plains-mesa grassland, desert grassland, and riparian areas. They often inhabit vegetation along stream banks or rocky ledges of canyons.
Males usually weigh 800-900 g, while females weigh 400-700 g. Males are about 700mm in length, 377mm of which is the tail. Females are 650mm in length, 370mm of which is the tail. They are similar to striped skunk; however, Mephitis macroura has longer and softer fur. The upper neck has a distinct area of longer hair, leading to the common name "hooded skunk." The tail is also longer than that of the striped skunk. There are two known color patterns. In the first, the back of the skunk is entirely white in color while its underparts are black, sometimes with white areas. In the second, the back and underparts are black with two narrow lateral white stripes along the side. Frequently the underside of the tail is white. The stripes on the hooded skunk rarely divide into a "V" as in striped skunks.
Breeding in Mephitis macroura occurs from the middle of February to the end of March. Litters usually consist of about 3 individuals.
Hooded skunks are mostly nocturnal. They frequently use vegetation or burrows for shelter and safety. Hooded skunks are less aggressive than other skunks when trapped and in the presence of humans.
Mostly eat insects. Sometimes eat vertebrates such as shrews and rodents. Also eat plant material such as prickly pear fruit.
Mark Irwin (author), University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Phil Myers (editor), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
Found in coastal areas between 30 and 40 degrees latitude, in areas with a Mediterranean climate. Vegetation is dominated by stands of dense, spiny shrubs with tough (hard or waxy) evergreen leaves. May be maintained by periodic fire. In South America it includes the scrub ecotone between forest and paramo.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
in deserts low (less than 30 cm per year) and unpredictable rainfall results in landscapes dominated by plants and animals adapted to aridity. Vegetation is typically sparse, though spectacular blooms may occur following rain. Deserts can be cold or warm and daily temperates typically fluctuate. In dune areas vegetation is also sparse and conditions are dry. This is because sand does not hold water well so little is available to plants. In dunes near seas and oceans this is compounded by the influence of salt in the air and soil. Salt limits the ability of plants to take up water through their roots.
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
uses touch to communicate
A terrestrial biome. Savannas are grasslands with scattered individual trees that do not form a closed canopy. Extensive savannas are found in parts of subtropical and tropical Africa and South America, and in Australia.
A grassland with scattered trees or scattered clumps of trees, a type of community intermediate between grassland and forest. See also Tropical savanna and grassland biome.
A terrestrial biome found in temperate latitudes (>23.5° N or S latitude). Vegetation is made up mostly of grasses, the height and species diversity of which depend largely on the amount of moisture available. Fire and grazing are important in the long-term maintenance of grasslands.
Dec. 4, 1997. "Hooded Skunk (Mephitis macroura)" (On-line). Accessed Dec. 9, 1999 at http:/www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot/mephmacr.htm.
Oct. 20, 1997. "Species Hooded Skunk (Mephitis macroura)" (On-line). Accessed Dec. 9, 1999 at http://www.fw.vt.edu/fishex/nmex_main/species/050740.htm.
Davis, W., D. Schmidly. 1994. The Mammals of Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Findley, J. 1975. Mammals of New Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
Hoffmeister, D. 1986. Mammals of Arizona. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.