Fun Hooded Skunk Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 27, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Hooded skunk facts are interesting.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.6 Min

The hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura) is one of the few species of New World skunks found in large numbers in North America.

Hooded skunks can be classified into four subspecies. This classification is entirely based on geographical differences between the subspecies.

Each subspecies of the hooded skunks inhabit a particular part out of their entire range. Mephitis macroura eximus are exclusively confined to the lowlands of Mexico and central Veracruz. Mephitis macroura milleri are the northernmost hooded skunk species found along the northern border of Mexico extending up to the south United States, New Mexico, and Arizona.

On the other hand, Mephitis macroura richardsoni is the most southern skunk, found in their range in Central America. Mephitis macroura populates southern Mexico and descends south into Guatemala.

The hooded skunks undergo three morphs in their entire life. Therefore they are observed to change colors after some time.

The three stages are morphs are, the white-backed phase, the black-backed phase, and the all-black phase. These are fairly common animals and are evaluated as a species of Least Concern by the IUCN.

The breeding season of this skunk species lasts from February to march, and the female skunk gives birth to three to eight kits in a year. To know more facts about the hooded skunk, keep reading these amazing facts.

For more relatable content, check out these fun animal facts on the white-tailed prairie dog and the deer mouse.

Hooded Skunk Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a hooded skunk?

The hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura) is one of the new world skunk species that are distributed throughout southwestern America, Central America, and Mexico.

What class of animal does a hooded skunk belong to?

The hooded skunk (Mephitis macroura) of the Carnivora order and Mephitidae family belongs to the class Mammalia, the common class for all warm-blooded animals.

How many hooded skunks are there in the world?

Currently, there is no information regarding the global population of hooded skunks. The population dynamics have not been documented properly throughout its range.

They follow a very irregular distribution in different parts of America. For example, the species of hooded skunks are found abundantly in Mexico, whereas, in Texas, these animals have presumably gone extinct.

It is assumed that these mammals are following an increasing population trend in Costa Rica, the United States, Arizona, and Mexico. Therefore, the overall population status of the hooded skunk is not endangered as of yet.

Where does a hooded skunk live?

The hooded skunks are an endemic species of the southern part of America. They occur throughout the southern parts of the United States, New Mexico, and southeastern Arizona and enters Mexico.

The hooded skunks were once widely distributed throughout southwestern Texas, but at present, they have become very rare there. Further south, the species enters the different territories of Central America like Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua through Mexico.

What is a hooded skunk's habitat?

Hooded skunks have a very flexible habitat choice; they can easily adapt to various types of habitats ranging from arid lowland forests to moderately elevated plateaus or hills. Most of the hooded skunks occupy the arid boreal forest regions, but they also extend to deciduous forests and the forest edges.

The presence of a nearby water source plays a very important role in their habitat selection.

Unlike hog-nosed skunks, the hooded species prefers moderate elevations. They are found at elevations ranging up to 7,874-10,170 ft (2400-3100 m). Apart from the desert lowlands and high elevated plateau regions, hooded skunks also populate grasslands, pastures, pine forests, riparian forests near a perennial water source, and all kinds of habitats lying in between.

Large populations within human settlements indicate that coexisting with humans benefits their diet largely. The hooded skunks are most abundant in Mexico, where they mainly inhabit grassland and marshes.

Substantial differences exist among the subspecies regarding their preferred choice for habitats. They either stay inside small dens made out of plant material like branches, leaves, and logs or in evacuated burrows.

Who does hooded skunk live with?

The species of hooded skunks are solitary in nature; they live alone in their dens carved out of trees. At night, they are often observed to travel across fields and along road walls in search of food.

However, in spite of their solitary nature, the animals do not show much aggression when they meet other individuals of the same or different species. These nocturnal creatures are often observed to forage in aggregations around dumpsters or household garbage at night.

How long does a hooded skunk live?

In the wild, the lives of hooded skunks are threatened by various predators, human activities, and diseases like feline distemper and leptospirosis. Therefore they die at a very early stage in the wild. In captivity, a hooded skunk can live up to three years of age.

How do they reproduce?

There is very little information regarding the reproduction system of the hooded skunks. They most likely follow a polygamous mating arrangement, just like the striped skunks.

A single male will breed with several females during the breeding season. The females start to ovulate 42 hours after their estrus cycle. Copulation takes place during this period. The breeding season of the hooded skunks lasts from February to March.

Most of the females give birth to the young one between early May and June. However, depending on the variations in monsoon season, the gestation time may vary from one place to another. In some regions, skunk babies are born as late as October.

After a gestation period covering approximately two months, the female hooded skunk gives birth to three to eight babies in a single litter. Unlike the hog-nosed skunk males that stay around until their babies are born, the hooded skunk males probably leave the mother with their offspring as soon as breeding gets over.

The females take responsibility for the young ones and feed them until they mature.

What is their conservation status?

The hooded skunks of North America are classified as a species of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List. The North American hooded skunks occur over a large range and easily adapt to different types of habitat. They are also one of the more common skunk species observed in Mexico and the United States.

All these factors contribute to their specified status in the Red List. Currently, their population is not under any threat.

The number of hooded skunks has actually increased in many parts of their range. Unfortunately, the species of hooded skunks couldn't survive in Texas. However, the reason behind the extinction is still unclear to the researchers.

Hooded Skunk Fun Facts

What does a hooded skunk look like?

The hooded skunk is a mid-sized skunk

The hooded skunk is a perfect example of a mid-sized skunk; its body is too big like the hog-nosed skunk nor too small like the spotted skunks. The hooded skunk's appearance is exceptionally similar to the striped skunk.

They are recognized from each other by differences in the length of their hairs, the presence of a longer tail than the striped ones, and variations in the texture of their fur. Their head is small with a bare nasal pad, like hedgehogs.

The hooded skunks have three types of pelage patterns. The color of their fur varies from each other with respect to each morph. In the first phase of the white-backed phase, the hooded skunk has s typically white upper body.

In the white-backed phase, two small and narrow white stripes also appear along the flanks of the skunk. The ventral side of the body consists of black fur in the white-backed phase. The next phase, called the black-backed phase, is characterized by a completely black body.

Except for the lateral white stripes running along the sides of shoulders and few black and white hairs at the base of the tail, the entire body is covered with black fur in the black-backed stage. The third and final stage is an all-black phase where the lateral white stripes disappear, and the entire body appears black.

This is only seen in the subspecies Mephitis macroura richardsoni.

How cute are they?

They are not necessarily regarded as cute creatures.

How do they communicate?

No vocal communication takes place between skunks. They mostly communicate with the help of different types of body language. While fighting, they express anger by spraying at each other by raising their tail.

How big is a hooded skunk?

The length of the species of hooded skunks ranges between 22-31 in (55.8-78.7 cm). They are more or less similar to the size of striped skunks.

How fast can a hooded skunk run?

The exact speed of hooded skunks has not been determined.

How much does a hooded skunk weigh?

The weight of an adult hooded skunk ranges between 0.9-4.4 lb (0.4-2 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

A male hooded skunk is called a buck, and the female is referred to as a doe.

What would you call a baby hooded skunk?

A baby hooded skunk is known as a cub or kit.

What do they eat?

Hooded skunks follow the basic diet of all skunks. The diet of these opportunistic predators consists of insects, small mammals, frogs, bird eggs, small mammals like mice and rats, bird eggs, and plant material.

Are they dangerous?

Hooded skunks do not pose any threat to society. Rather they are very peaceful creatures that do not interfere in the lives of humans and quietly coexist with them.

Would they make a good pet?

No, hooded skunks are not good as pets. They cannot be domesticated by humans because of their wild and nocturnal nature. The foul chemical that they spray when they are afraid also contains toxins that are harmful to human beings.

Did you know...

Hooded skunks remain inactive during the coldest month during winter. They do not hibernate, but they stay inside their dens the entire day.

How is a hooded skunk different from a striped skunk?

Striped skunks and hooded skunks look quite similar to each other. The two species can be distinguished by the presence of the ruff, or hood, formed by long hairs around the neck of the hooded skunk. Apart from that, hooded skunks usually have a softer fur coat and a longer tail than striped skunks.

Do hooded skunks spray?

Like all other skunk species, hooded skunks are capable of spraying a type of pungent chemical through their anal glands on their potential attackers.

If their predators do not leave the skunks even after warning them with body movements, they resort to spraying the anal scent from the glands as their last defense option. When skunks are agitated by a group of attackers, they raise their tails and spray the anal scent from a few yards away.

The foul and smelly chemical drives all the predators, as well as humans, away from the animal.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals, including yellow-footed rock-wallaby facts and Asian house shrew facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable hibernating skunk coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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