Hooded skunks are small mammals known for their ability to spray a liquid with a strong, unpleasant smell. They can be distinguished from the similar striped skunk by their longer tail and longer, much softer coat of fur. A ruff of white fur around their neck gives Hooded skunks their common name. There are three color phases and in all three, a thin white medial stripe is present between the eyes: black-backed with two lateral white stripes, white-backed with one dorsal white stripe, or entirely black with a few white hairs in the tail.
Hooded skunks can be found from the Southwestern United States to Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and northwest Costa Rica. They live in forests, grasslands, shrublands, deserts, and in the foothills of mountains, avoiding high elevations. These animals are often found near a water source, such as a river.
Hooded skunks are solitary creatures; however, they may gather in small groups at a feeding ground without showing any signs of aggression. They shelter in a burrow or a nest of thick plant cover during the day and are active at night. Like other skunks, for self-defense, they spray bad-smelling oily musk from two glands located near the base of their tail.
The mating system of Hooded skunks is unknown but similar to the Stripped skunk they may be polygynous; this means that during the breeding season one male mates with several females. Hooded skunks usually breed from February to March and after the gestation period of 60 days, females give birth to 3-8 kits.
Hooded skunks are currently not endangered. They are very abundant in Mexico and can live in human suburban areas mostly on pastures and cultivated fields. Their fur has low economic value. However, their fat and scent glands can be used in local folk medicine. In some parts of their range, Hooded skunks are hunted for food as their meat is considered a delicacy.
According to IUCN, the Hooded skunk is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are increasing.