Circadian and seasonal activity patterns of sympatric hog-nosed (Conepatus leuconotus) and striped (Mephitis mephitis) skunks
Circadian and seasonal activity of sympatric hog-nosed (Conepatus leuconotus, n = 12) and striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis, n = 9) were monitored via activity-sensorequipped radiocollars from 15 October 2010 to 20 November 2011 in west-central Texas. Temperature, average and maximum wind speed, barometric pressure, dew point, moon phase, and time of sunset/sunrise were recorded to evaluate which factors influence skunk activity. Both species exhibited predominantly nocturnal activity patterns with some daytime activity across all seasons. Onset and cessation of activity was highly correlated with sunset and sunrise. Activity during the day was documented in both species for all seasons, and the greatest degree of daytime activity was found in hog-nosed skunks in the spring. Activity patterns were significantly different between species and seasons. Moon-phase, season, time before sunrise/sunset, environmental temperature, barometric pressure, and maximum windspeed were all shown to significantly impact skunk activity.