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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 19:30 EDT

Western Hog-nosed Skunk (Common Hog-nosed Skunk)

The Western Hog-nosed Skunk, Conepatus mesoleucus, also known as the Common Hog-nosed Skunk, is a species of skunk native to the southwestern United States (Arizona to southern Texas) south through Mexico to Nicaragua. In Texas it is commonly called the rooter skunk for its habit of rooting and overturning rocks and debris in search of food. This species tends to inhabit rocky foothills and brushy areas where den space is readily available, avoiding hot deserts and forests.

This is a large skunk averaging about 21.5 to 23.5 inches in length, with males slightly larger than females. They have a single, broad white stripe from the top of the head to the base of the tail, the tail itself being completely white. The rest of the body is black.

The western hog-nosed skunk is omnivorous, feeding mainly on insects and vegetation. 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.

Western Hog-nosed Skunk Common Hog-nosed Skunk