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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, North American Mammals

  Carnivora · Mephitidae · Conepatus leuconotus

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Conepatus leuconotus

American Hog-nosed Skunk

Order: Carnivora
Family: Mephitidae

Image of Conepatus leuconotus
Conepatus leuconotus - eastern variant (base of tail is black)
Click to enlarge. (70 kb)

Conservation Status: Least Concern. Although this species has a wide distribution range, it is now very rare in Texas.

Skunks are seldom thought of as useful animals, but Hog-nosed Skunks can be helpful to farmers because they eat crop-destroying insects. They have powerful forelimbs and long claws, suited to digging up insect larvae and grubs. They also eat plant matter and sometimes small rodents if the opportunity arises. Like Striped and Spotted skunks, they are best known for the scent produced by, and sprayed from, their anal glands. Spraying is a last resort. The skunk's dramatic black and white coat serves as a warning signal to other mammals, and its first response is to run. A frightened Hog-nosed Skunk may then turn around to face its adversary, stand on its hind feet, and take a few steps forward, then come down on all fours and hiss. If that doesn't work, the next step is to bare its teeth, raise its tail, and bite, spray, or both.

Also known as:

Gulf Coast Hog-nosed Skunk, White Backed Skunk, Rooter Skunk, Texan Skunk, Badger Skunk, Conepat, North American Hog-nosed Skunk


Average: 636.5 mm males; 589.7 mm females
Range: 444-934 mm males; 445-840 mm females


Range: 1,135-4,500 g


Lichtenstein, H., 1832.  ber die Springm use oder die Arten der Gattung Dipus. Abhandlungen der Koniglichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Berlin, pl. 44, fig. 1. 133-162.


Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).

Distribution of Conepatus leuconotus

Image of Conepatus leuconotus
Click to enlarge. (120kb)

Skull of Conepatus leuconotus
Conepatus leuconotus - western variant (tail is completely white)
Click to enlarge. (64kb)

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