The hooded skunk, Mephitis macroura, is similar to the striped skunk, but can be distinguished by its longer tail and longer, softer coat of fur. A ruff of white fur around its neck gives the animal its common name. It is generally more white dorsally, and black ventrally, but two color variants exist. One type has an all-white back, while the other has a black back with two white longitudinal stripes.
The hooded skunk is most abundant in Mexico, but its range extends into Central America and into the southwestern United States. It is found on grassland, high desert, and in the foothills of mountains, but it avoids high elevation. It tends to live near a water source, such as a river.
The diet of the hooded skunk consists mostly of vegetation, especially prickly pear, but it will readily consume insects and small rodents as well. It shelters in a burrow or a nest of thick plant cover during the day and is active at night. Its breeding season is in the late winter and the female bears an average litter of three young.