Mephitis macroura


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Mephitis macroura
Species Authority: Lichtenstein, 1832
Common Name(s):
English Hooded Skunk
French Moufette À Capuchon
Spanish Zorillo

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F. & Helgen, K.
Reviewer(s): Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
This species is listed as Least Concern as the species has a wide distribution range, is present in a variety of habitats and is common across its range (Hwang and Lariviere, 2001) and is tolerant to human activities. It is suspected that the species population is increasing in some regions.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: M. macroura occurs from the southern United States (southwestern Texas, southwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Arizona), throughout Mexico, into Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northwest Costa Rica. (Hall, 1981; Janzen and Hallwachs, 1982; Reid, 1997; Rosatte, 1987).
El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Little is known of the population dynamics of hooded skunks (Rosatte, 1987). The species is common in Costa Rica and not uncommon in Arizona (Reid pers. comm.). The species is very abundant in Mexico (Hwang and Lariviere 2001). The species seems to be more common in human disturbed areas.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The hooded skunk is most common in the arid lowlands (Davis and Russell, 1954), but also occurs in deciduous or ponderosa forest, forest edges, pastures, rocky canyons, and riparian habitats (Baker, 1956; Findley et al., 1975; Janzen and Hallwachs, 1982). In Mexico, hooded skunks occupy home ranges of 2.8–5.0 km2 (Ceballos and Miranda, 1986). Typically, M. macroura occurs from sea level to 2,440 m (Hubbard, 1972), but it was also found at higher elevations in Mexico (Davis and Russell, 1954) and in Arizona (Hoffmeister, 1986). In Guerrero, Mexico, hooded skunks are widespread but scattered below 1,830 m (Davis and Lukens, 1958). The hooded skunk mainly consumes insects, fruits, small vertebrates, and bird eggs (Patton, 1974; Reid, 1997). This species seems to benefit from human distrurbed areas and can be abundant around human populations.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Hooded skunks are not threatened. In Mexico, they are very abundant and survive in human altered habitats such as cultivated fields, pastures, and suburban areas (Hwang and Larivière, 2001). However, its meat is desired in some areas (Davis, 1944) while other parts are used for some other uses in Guatemala and Mexico (Reid, 1997; Dalquest, 1953).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The species does not have any specific protection status in Central America (De la Rosa and Nocke, 2000).

Bibliography [top]

Baker, R. H. 1956. Mammals of Coahuila, Mexico. Museum of Natural History, pp. 125-135. University of Kansas Publications.

Ceballos, G. and Miranda, A. 1986. Los mamíferos de Chamela, Jalisco: manual de campo. Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, México City, Mexico.

Dalquest, W. W. 1953. Mammals of the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. Louisiana State University Press, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.

Davis, W. B. 1944. Notes on Mexican mammals. Journal of Mammalogy 25: 370–403.

Davis, W. B. and Lukens Jr., D. J. 1958. Mammals of the Mexican state of Guerrero, exclusive of Chiroptera and Rodentia. Journal of Mammalogy 39: 347-367.

Davis, W. B. and Russell, R. J. 1954. Mammals of the Mexican state of Morelos. Journal of Mammalogy 35: 63-80.

Dragoo, J. W. and Honeycutt, L. 1997. Systematics of mustelid-like carnivores. Journal of Mammalogy 78: 426-443.

Findley, J. S., Harris, A. H., Wilson, D. E. and Jones, C. E. 1975. Mammals of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, USA.

Hall, E.R. 1981. The Mammals of North America. John Wiley and Sons, New York, USA.

Hoffmeister, D. F. 1986. Mammals of Arizona. University of Arizona Press and Arizona Game and Fish Department, Tucson, Arizona, USA.

Hubbard, J. P. 1972. Hooded skunk on the Mongolian Plateau, New Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 16: 458.

Hwang, Y. and Larivière, S. 2001. Mephitis macroura. Mammalian Species 686: 1-3.

Janzen, D. H. and Hallwachs, W. 1982. The hooded skunk, Mephitis macroura, in lowland northwestern Costa Rica. Brenesia 19-20: 549–552.

Patton, R. F. 1974. Ecological and behavioural relationships of the skunks of Trans Pecos Texas. Texas A&M University.

Reid, F. 1997. A field guide to the mammals of Central America and southeast Mexico. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.

Rosa, C. L., de la and Nocke, C. C. 2000. A Guide to the Carnivores of Central America: Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation. University of Texas Press, Austin, TX, USA.

Rosatte, R. C. 1987. Striped, Spotted, Hooded, and Hog-nosed Skunk. In: M. Novak, J. A. Baker, M. E. Obbard and B. Malloch (eds), Wild furbearer management and conservation in North America, pp. 1150 pp.. Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Trappers Association, Ontario, Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Wozencraft, W.C. 2005. Order Carnivora. In: D.E. Wilson and D.M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. Third Edition, pp. 532-628. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Cuarón, A.D., Reid, F. & Helgen, K. 2008. Mephitis macroura. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 August 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided