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Molina´s Hog-nosed Skunk (Conepatus chinga)

  • Molina" s Hog-nosed Skunk (Conepatus chinga)

    Common Name/s: Molina"s Hog-nosed skunk  
    Scientific name: Conepatus chinga
    Brazilian common name/s: Zorrilho

    Quick facts (average values with minimum and maximum in parenthesis)

    Body length (cm): (33-50)a  Tail (cm):  (17-32) a Diet: Omnivorous
    Weight (kg): (1.4-3.4) a Height (cm):  Home range (km2): 2 (maximum)b
    Litter size: 4 Gestation (days):  Longevity (years): 
    Social structure: Solitary a
    Activity pattern: Nocturnal a

    a (Emmons & Feer 1997); b (Donadio et al. 2001)

    Physical description
    Small carnivores, with a distinctive colouration: a black or dark brown coat and two white stripes running over the back of the head to the tail.

    Habitat and Ecology
    A poorly studied species, C. chinga occurs in the south of Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná, and São Paulo states - Cáceres 2004; Emmons & Helgen 2008; Gianuca 1997; Lyra-Jorge et al. 2008; Michalski et al. 2007) and mostly inhabit more open vegetation, such as fields and cerrado, avoiding densest forests . Its best known feature is the ability to spray its enemies with a stream of pungent smelling fluid over considerable distances. They are mainly nocturnal in their habits and during the day shelter in burrows dug by armadillos or themselves.
    They are omnivores, feeding mainly on insects, small vertebrates and carrion (Donadio et al. 2004; Travaini et al. 1998).

    Threats and Conservation
    Classified by the IUCN as least concern due to their tolerance of human disturbance, however they were heavily hunted for their fur and habitats have been severely degraded (Emmons & Helgen 2008).

    Online links
    IUCN redlist ( presents a summary of current knowledge on distribution and conservation status

    Cáceres, N. C. (2004). Occurrence of Conepatus chinga (Molina) (Mammalia, Carnivora, Mustelidae) and other terrestrial mammals in the Serra do Mar, Paraná, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia, 21, 577–579.

    Donadio, E., Di Martino, S., Aubone, M., & Novaro, A. J. (2001). Activity patterns, home-range, and habitat selection of the common hog-nosed skunk, Conepatus chinga (Mammmalia, Mustelidae), in northwestern Patagonia. Mammalia, 65, 49-53.

    Donadio, E., Di Martino, S., Aubone, M., & Novaro, A. J. (2004). Feeding ecology of the Andean hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus chinga) in areas under different land use in north-western Patagonia. Journal of Arid Environments, 56, 709-718.

    Emmons, L. H., & Feer, F. (1997). Neotropical rainforest mammals: a field guide. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Emmons, L., & Helgen, K. (2008). Conepatus chinga. In: IUCN 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.2. <>, , Downloaded on 05 July 2010.

    Gianuca, N. (1997). A fauna das dunas costeiras do Rio Grande do Sul. Oecologia Brasiliensis, 3, .

    Lyra-Jorge, M. C., Ciocheti, G., & Pivello, V. R. (2008). Carnivore mammals in a fragmented landscape in northeast of São Paulo State, Brazil. Biodiversity and Conservation, 17, 1573-1580.

    Michalski, F., Crawshaw, P. G., de Oliveira, T. G., & Fabian, M. E. (2007). Efficiency of box-traps and leg-hold traps with several bait types for capturing small carnivores (Mammalia) in a disturbed area of Southeastern Brazil. Revista De Biologia Tropical, 55, 315-320.

    Travaini, A., Delibes, M., & Ceballos, O. (1998). Summer foods of the Andean hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus chinga) in Patagonia. Journal of Zoology, 246, 457-460.

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