are four living species of the Hyaenidae family, which are
the striped hyena, brown hyena, the spotted hyena and the
aardwolf. Hyenas are believed to have derived 26 million
years ago from the arboreal ancestors appearing to have a
resemblance to the modern banded palm civet. Plioviverrops,
an early hyena, was a nimble civet-like animal that dwelled
in Eurasia about 20 to 22 million years ago. 15 million
years ago, dog-like hyenas thrived, with 30 various
specifies being recognized.
Characteristics Of The Hyena
hyena is the most prevalent large carnivore in Africa. The
female spotted hyena is dominant over the male hyena and
outweighs it by approximately 3 pounds. It is often
challenging to tell the sexes apart in the field because the
external female genitalia have a superficial resemblance to
those of the male. The reason for this physical development
in the female hyena is unidentified, however, it may have
been essential for them to look bigger and physically
powerful to safeguard their young from males, as hyenas tend
to be cannibalistic in nature.
hyena is considered to be very intelligent creatures. It
relays information by unique signals, postures and calls.
Spotted hyenas dwell in large groups known as clans. The
clans concentrated around females, who are dominant over the
males. The aardwolf, however, is a solitary
hyena is a hunter and scavenger—it has very strong jaws and
sharp teeth (excluding the aardwolf). The hyena’s diet
typically consists of zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, gazelle,
eggs, topi, fruits and insects. The aardwolf, though, is a
specialized feeder of termites. Hyenas are able to survive
for many days without water.
spotted hyena can be found in various types of landform. It
may dwell in grasslands, savannas, woodlands, forest edges,
subdeserts and mountains.
spotted hyena is a competent hunter and an opportunistic
scavenger at the same time. It feeds on a wide range of
animals of different sizes, bones, carrion and vegetable
matter. The strong jaws and digestive tract of the hyena
enable it to process and get nutrients from bones and skin.
The only portions of the prey not completely digested are
horns, hooves and hair (these are regurgitated as
Facts About Hyenas
spotted hyena was misunderstood until the last 3 decades.
Scientists used to believe they were mainly scavengers.
Today, however, there is more interest in the study of these
animals due to their unique and fascinating characteristics.
The hyena is often mistaken for the African wild dog. It has
an average life span of 12 years and can survive up to 25
years in confinement. When there is a confrontation between
hyenas and lions, the winner is often the species with the
most members. Hyena claws are rounded and non-retractile. In
ancient Egypt, the hyena was domesticated, fattened up, and
consumed. The spotted hyena has been termed as “laughing
hyena” because it is a typically very noisy creature.
Finally, the hyena is not a dog, and is in fact more closely
related to the cat!