Overview

Distribution

Range Description

The species is found in southern Argentina and adjacent parts of Chile (Redford and Eisenberg, 1989).
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Geographic Range

Patagonian hog-nosed skunks are found in Chile and Argentina from 38 to 42 degrees south to the Strait of Magellan.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

  • Fuller, T., W. Johnson, W. Franklin, K. Johnson. 1987. Journal of Mammology, 68(4): 864-867.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Conepatus humboldtii is approximately 50 to 60 cm in length counting the tail which is 15 to 18 centimeters in length. These animals weigh between 1100 to 4500 g. Both males and females are black and may have 1 or 2 stripes down the side of their bodies. They are sexually dimorphic with the males being slightly larger. Conepatus humboldtii has a bare, broad, projecting face that lacks the thin white line down the middle. This allows it to be easily distinguished from similar species of skunk.

Range mass: 1100 to 4500 g.

Range length: 50 to 60 cm.

Sexual Dimorphism: male larger

  • Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: John's Hopkins University Press.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Habitat use for Patagonian hog-nose skunks ranges from grass and shrub land to rocky outcroppings. They may also be found around human dwellings (e.g. houses, sheds, etc.). C. humboldtii is found at elevations from 200 to 700 m above sea level (Fuller et al., 1987). This species is solitary and active mainly at night. Home ranges of individual skunks may overlap and range from 9.7 ha to 16.4 ha. Patagonian hog-nosed skunks forage exclusively in green grassy areas (Chapman and Feldhamer, 1982; Fuller et al. 1987). They primarily eat insects but may also feed on small mammals, shrubs, and fruit in addition to insects. (Fuller et al. 1987)

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Habitat use for Patagonian hog-nose skunks ranges from grass and shrub land to rocky outcroppings. They may also be found around human dwellings (e.g. houses, sheds, etc.). Conepatus humboldtii is found at elevations from 200 to 700 m above sea level.

Range elevation: 200 to 700 m.

Habitat Regions: terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland ; chaparral ; scrub forest ; mountains

Other Habitat Features: agricultural

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Patagonian hog-nosed skunks primarily eat insects. They may however feed on small mammals, shrubs, and fruit in addition to insects.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; amphibians; reptiles; fish; eggs; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Plant Foods: seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Associations

Ecosystem Roles

C. humboldtii probably affects populations of insects and other small mammals it preys upon. To the extent that it digs in the soil for burrowing or to locate its insect prey, this species probably also helps to aerate the soil.

Ecosystem Impact: soil aeration

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Predation

Conepatus humboldtii has no real natural predators, although certain species of skunks have been preyed upon by raptors such as great-horned owls. The lack of natural predators may be in fact due to the skunk’s ability to emit a powerful smelling musk out of anal glands on its rear end.

There are reports that hog-nosed skunks in the Andes are immune to the venum of pit vipers. This might indicate an historic case of predation on these skunks by snakes which is no longer of importance, or it may indicate that the skunks prey on pit vipers.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

Conepatus humboldtii communicates by bodily gestures to ward off potential danger. This may be stamping its feet or raising its rear in the air. Like other skunks, it is known to eject a foul smelling secretion from its anal glands if threatened. Little is known of mating behavior of C. humboldtii.

Communication Channels: visual ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic

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Life Cycle

Development

C. humboldtii undergoes similar development as other mustelidae. At birth young weigh approximately one ounce. Growth to adulthood usually takes up to 3 months (Chapman and Feldhammer 1982).

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Little is known about the lifespan of C. humboldtii in the wild. However, similar species of hog-nosed skunk have lived up to 7 years in captivity.

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Reproduction

The mating system of these animals has not been described.

Data are lacking on the breeding season of this species, but in congeneric Conepatus leuconotus in Texas, reproduction usually occurs between February and March. Gestation for C. humboldtii lasts approximately 9 weeks. Patagonian hog-nosed skunks bear 3 to 7 altricial young. The reason for such a small litter is believed to be the relatively small number of mammae possessed by the females. Female Patagonian hog-nosed skunks have 3 pair of mammae, as opposed to other species of skunks, which may have more. Young are not “weaned” in the traditional sense, but simply stop nursing when able to take in a regular diet.

The timing of sexual maturity in C. humboldtii is not known, but in C. leuconotus has been reported as 10 to 11 months of age.

Breeding interval: These animals appear to breed once per year.

Breeding season: Breeding season for this species is not reported.

Range number of offspring: 3 to 7.

Average gestation period: 9 weeks.

Average weaning age: 2 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); fertilization ; delayed implantation

The parental care of this species has not been described. However, other skunks give birth to altricial young, which are kept in a den or nest until they are able to walk about. The mother provides the young with food in the form of milk, and protection.

Parental Investment: no parental involvement; altricial ; pre-fertilization (Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)

  • Fuller, T., W. Johnson, W. Franklin, K. Johnson. 1987. Journal of Mammology, 68(4): 864-867.
  • Nowak, R. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. Baltimore and London: John's Hopkins University Press.
  • Chapman, J., G. Feldhamer. 1982. Wild Animals of North America. Biology, Management, and Economics. Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Emmons, L. & Helgen, K.

Reviewer/s
Duckworth, J.W. (Small Carnivore Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern as the species is widespread in an area of relatively intact habitat and it is common, sometimes occurring at high densities (Cofré et al., 1999).
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Conepatus humboldtii is listed on the CITES appendix II.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
Olrog and Lucero (1980) state that it is locally common in Argentina. Some indication that the numbers ofC. humboldtii have decreased (Broad et al., 1988), but the numbers killed each year in Patagonia are not known and unpublished data show that population levels have been stable from 1989 to 1993. Population density value estimated for Chile is 89 individuals/km2 (Cofré et al. 1999).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
The pelts of C. humboldtii were exported a great deal between 1960 and 1980 although of lesser value than other Conepatus species. In 1983, C. humboldtii was protected against export in Argentina and Chile. These animals are apparently still used in the pet trade (Chapman and Feldhamer, 1982).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conepatus humboldtii is listed on the CITES Appendix II (Fuller et al. 1987).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

These anmals are not reported to have any negative economic impact on humans.

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

The pelts of hog-nosed skunk were exported a great deal between 1960 and 1980. The pelts of C. humboldtii were thought to be of lesser value than other Conepatus species. In 1983, C. humboldtii was protected against export in Argentina and Chile. These animals are apparently still used in the pet trade.

Positive Impacts: pet trade ; body parts are source of valuable material

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Wikipedia

Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk

Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk, also known as the Patagonian hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus humboldtii) is a type of hog-nosed skunk indigenous to the open grassy areas in the Patagonian regions of Argentina and Chile.

Appearance

This skunk is small and stocky, with a bare nose used for rooting up insects and plants. Its fur is brownish-red with two symmetrical stripes on either side, extending to the tail. It ranges from 30-34 cm in body length, with a 17- to 21-cm tail. They usually weigh 1.5 to 3.0 kg.

Food

Patagonian hog-nosed skunks are primarily insectivorous, but also eat vertebrate prey, such as rodents and carrion during winters, when insects are less abundant.[2]

References

  1. ^ Emmons, L. & Helgen, K. (2008). Conepatus humboldtii. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 27 January 2009.
  2. ^ Zapata, Sonia C.; Travaini, Alejandro; Martínez-Peck, Rolando (January 2001), "Seasonal feeding habits of the Patagonian hog-nosed skunk Conepatus humboldtii in southern Patagonia", Acta Theriologica 46: 97–102, http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mripas/at/2001/00000046/00000001/art00011
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