Hooded skunks get their name from the long hairs on the back of their necks and heads that form a kind of shroud. They are nocturnal, solitary by nature, and move slowly so as to remain unnoticed. Omnivores and opportunistic feeders, hooded skunks primarily eat insects, such as earwigs, stink bugs, and beetles, but also make meals of birds, eggs, small mammals, amphibians, carrion, and garbage.

Identifying Features

Smaller and leaner than other species, hooded skunks typically only weigh five pounds. They have triangularly shaped heads, sharp teeth, small ears, and their tails are longer than their bodies. Hooded skunks tend to bear one of three distinct colorations: white-backed, black-backed, or all black. White-backed hooded skunk backs and tails are covered in white fur, while back-backed hooded skunks appear to be striped with white. Finally, though this coloration is rare, some skunks can be entirely black.


Found primarily in the Southwest, hooded skunks thrive in the dry lowlands of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. They live in canyons, grasslands, pastures, deserts, and forested regions situated near sources of water. Typical denning sites include rock ledges, crevices, and the abandoned burrows of similar animals. Though hooded skunks prefer to stay away from humans, they are often found in or around manmade structures where easily accessible food is present.

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