Western Hog-nosed Skunk

The western hog-nosed skunk or common hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus mesoleucus) is a species of hog-nosed skunk native from the southwestern United States (Arizona to southern Texas). It is also found 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 21.65 to 23.62 in (55 to 60cm) long, 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. The tail itself is 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. 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.