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Hog-nosed Skunk
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Mephitidae
Genus: Conepatus
Species

See text.

The hog-nosed skunks belong to the genus Conepatus and are members of the family Mephitidae (skunks). They are native to the Americas.

Contents

Species

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]

Description

Conepatus humboldtii

The individual hog-nosed skunk species vary in size, but among them is included the largest of all skunks. All are characterized by comparatively short hair, especially on the tail, and this appendage lacks the plumelike appearance observed in other skunks. The nose is prolonged into a distinct "snout", naked on the top and sides and evidently used for rooting in the earth after the manner of a pig. In addition, the front feet are armed with long, heavy claws, and the front legs and shoulders are provided with a strong muscular development for digging, as in a badger. This likeness has led to the use in some places of the appropriate name "badger skunk" for these animals. The single white stripe along the back, and including the tail, is a common pattern with these skunks, but this marking is considerably varied, as in the common species.

The hair on these skunks is coarse and harsh, lacking the qualities which render the coats of their northern relatives so valuable.

Range

The hog-nosed skunks are the only representatives of the skunk tribe in South America, where varied species occupy a large part of the continent. They appear to form a South American group of mammals which has extended its range northward through Central America, Mexico, and across the border of the United States to central Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. In Mexico they range from sea-level to above 10,000 feet altitude on the mountains of the interior.

Habitat

Where their range coincides with that of the common skunks, the local distribution of the two is practically the same. They live along the bottom-lands of watercourses, where vegetation is abundant and the supply of food most plentiful, or in canyons and on rocky mountain slopes.

For their protection hog-nosed skunks create their own burrows, generally within a bank, or beneath a rock, or the roots of a tree, but do not hesitate to take possession of the deserted burrows of other animals, or of natural cavities among the rocks. Owing to their strictly nocturnal habits, they are generally much less frequently seen than the common skunks, even in localities where they are numerous.

Feeding habits

Although both the spotted skunk and common skunks live mainly on insects, the hog-nosed skunks are even more insectivorous in their feeding habits. The bare snout appears to be used constantly for the purpose of rooting out beetles, grubs, and larvae of various kinds from the ground.

References

  1. ^ Western Hog-nosed Skunk
  2. ^ Cuarón AD & Helgen H (2008). Conepatus leuconotus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 2008-10-24.

This article incorporates text from the publication Wild Animals of North America, copyright 1918 by the National Geographic Society. This book is in the public domain.

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