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Audubon: Skunk

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Other names: Hog-nosed skunk, North American Hog-nosed Skunk

An Eastern Mexican skunk lives in southeastern Texas and eastern Mexico.

An Eastern Mexican skunk is the largest North American skunk with the coarsest fur among all skunks. The muzzle is elongated, conical in shape. Round short ears set low on the sides of the head. He has a nose that is characteristic of all pig-bearing skunks - wide and bare, vaguely reminiscent of a pig. The female has three pairs of nipples. The claws are strong, curved, designed for digging holes. Odorous glands are well developed. Males of this species are 18% larger than females.

Outwardly, the Eastern Mexican skunk is similar to the striped skunk Mephitis mephitis. He does not have a white streak on his head, which Mephitis has. In those places where both species are found, the East Mexican skunk differs from the striped solid white strip running along the back along the whole body. In the south, where the striped skunk does not enter, the East Mexican skunk has two white stripes on its back. Dental formula I 3/3, C 1/1, P 2/3, m 1/2 = 32).

Color: The fur of the East Mexican skunk is hard and thick, the bottom of the body, the head and legs are painted black, one or two white stripes are on the top of the body. The eastern Mexican skunk has a shorter tail than other species. Outwardly, it looks like a common brown-skinned skunk Conepatus mesoleucus. Both species differ in size: the Eastern Mexican skunk is 25% larger. The white stripe on the back of the East Mexican skunk is narrower, the underside of the tail is black, the end is white, while in the usual skunk the underside of the tail is white.

The total body length ranges from 44-93 cm, on average it is 63.6 cm, while the body length is 40-46 cm, the tail is 30-41 cm. The average length of the males is 63.5 cm, the females are 59.0 cm. Weight: 2-4.50 kg, on average. 3.25 kg

Habitat: It settles in a wide variety of places - in forests, on grassy plains, in mountainous regions (meeting up to an altitude of 4100 m above sea level), on coastal lowlands, in tropical thickets, semi-deserts and even in agricultural areas. Everywhere is extremely rare.

Enemies: Famous predators: Birds of prey, large carnivores, some large snakes. Life expectancy in captivity is 7-8 years, in nature - much less.

Carnivore. Little is known about the nutrition of an Eastern Mexican skunk: mainly insects were found in its stomach. If insects are not abundant, skunks feed on small mammals and even fruits.

The behavior of East Mexican skunks is also poorly understood. They are active for the most part at night, although in the winter months they are active during the daytime. They have powerful limbs and long claws, making it easy to tear out insects and their larvae from the soil. Like other types of skunks, an Eastern Mexican skunk is known for its odor attacks when it sprays an enemy that comes close to it with the strong-smelling secret of its anal glands. The motley contrasting coloring of the skunk's coat and the pattern on it serve as a warning signal for other mammals, although his first response to the threat is to run away. But the frightened skunk, suddenly encountering his opponent, gets on his hind legs, and takes a few steps forward, then falls on all fours and whistles. If this does not work, the next step is to bare (bake) your teeth and bite, or lift your tail and spray your smelly secret on the enemy, or combine both actions at once. For the most part, they neutralize predators, temporarily blinding the attacker with the fragrant musk secret of their anal glands. Many animals quickly learn to stay away from the warning colors of the skunk's fur pattern.

Social structure: They lead a solitary lifestyle. Individual plots are small, ranging from 500 hectares to 2.5 km. In the event of a lack of food, an Eastern Mexican skunk can migrate to other areas.

The mating season falls on February - March. Pregnancy: 2 months.

Reproduction in the East Mexican skunk occurs in the same way as in the usual skunk-skunk. After a two-month pregnancy, the female brings 2-4 cubs, on average 3. The lair is either a hole or other voids (various crevices, caves, hollow tree trunks, a hollow under buildings, etc.). The female has three pairs of nipples, providing puppies with milk.

Mother, while her youth is in the den, provides them with food and selflessly protects. And young people soon after birth, as soon as they begin to crawl, are already capable of emitting a few drops of musk from the anal gland in case of a threat to their life.

After about two months, young people are weaned, switched to solid food and soon they leave the den. Males and females reach puberty by 10-12 months.

Skunks are animals useful to farmers. By eating a lot of insects, especially agricultural pests, they help keep insect numbers low.

Eastern Mexican skunks carry rabies pathogens that can be transmitted to people or their home pupils. Also, if a person is sprayed with the secretion of the skunk's anal glands, the smell can cause a lot of inconvenience and troubles to the object subjected to the attack of the skunk.

The species is extremely rare in nature, despite its range being estimated at approximately 20,000-2,500,000 square km. The Eastern Mexican skunk is listed in section 2 (needs careful monitoring) of the FWS Red Book. Based on data on the number of skunks in the mid-1800s and mid-1900s, it was found that the population was steadily declining, with a catastrophic decrease in the mid-1900s. They have not been seen in nature since 1966.

C. leuconotus leuconotus - Mexico

C. leuconotus texensis (Merriam, 1902) - Texas. Local scientists distinguish the latter species as a separate species, which is not accepted by the scientific community.

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