The American hog-nosed skunk is native to Central and North America. It is one of the largest skunks in the world. The distinguishing feature of the American hog-nosed skunk is it has a single, broad white stripe from the top of the head to the base of the tail, and the tail itself is completely white. It is the only skunk that lacks a white dot or medial bar between the eyes and has primarily black body fur. The American hog-nosed skunk has stocky legs and plantigrade feet (the entire sole of the foot touches the ground). Its hind feet are broad and large with soles that are naked for about one-half their length. Its upper body is powerfully built, and the fore claws are very long. Males of this species are slightly larger than females.
American hog-nosed skunks are found from the southern United States into northern Nicaragua. They live in canyons, stream sides, and rocky terrain. In Mexico, they occur in open desert-scrub and mesquite-grasslands, tropical areas, mountains, coastal plains, cornfields surrounded by brushland or adjacent to grassy plains and thickets of bull-horn acacia, thorn woodland, and riparian forests, characterized by live-oaks, pecans, sycamores, and Texas persimmons and an understory of briars, grasses, and weeds. These skunks have been also found in pine-oak forest and in scrub and cacti. In Kleberg County, Texas, they occur in mesquite-brushland, pastures, and native grassland.
American hog-nosed skunks are solitary creatures and may be seen with other individuals only during the breeding season. They are nocturnal and during the day rest in their dens, that can be located underground, in rock crevices, hollow logs, or in caves. American hog-nosed skunks are capable climbers. They are well-adapted for digging and resemble badgers rather than other species of skunks in this respect. They have an acute sense of smell and use their nose in locating and capturing buried prey. Like all skunk species, they have powerful anal glands that spray bad-smelling oily musk used to deter would-be attackers.
Little is known about the mating system in American hog-nosed skunks; however, skunks are generally polygynous and during the breeding season one male mates with several females. These skunks usually breed from late February through early March; most adult females are pregnant by the end of March. The litter size is 1 to 5 young, although 2 to 4 are most common. The gestation period lasts about 60 days. Births usually occur in April and May. The kits are altricial; they are born with eyes closed but can crawl around the den. They are weaned at 2 months of age, and by late August begin to disperse. Young American hog-nosed skunks generally reach reproductive maturity and begin to breed when they are 10-12 months old.
American hog-nosed skunks are not globally threatened but at the local level, these animals are considered threatened in some states. They suffer from the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of their habitat, roadkill, and the use of pesticides in pests and predators control.
The IUCN Red List and other sources don’t provide the number of the American hog-nosed skunk total population size. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List but its numbers today are decreasing.
American hog-nosed skunks play a very important role in their ecosystem. Due to their digging habits, these animals help to aerate the soil and also control populations of insects, their main prey item.