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The Hyena
hyena

The hyena is Africa's most common large carnivore. Reputed to be cowardly and timid, the hyena can be bold and dangerous, attacking animals and humans. Hyenas mark and patrol their territories by depositing a strong-smelling substance produced by the anal glands on stalks of grass along the boundaries.

About The Laughing Hyena
hyena

Parks Where Found

Physical Characteristic

  • Hyenas weigh about 57 to 190 pounds (26 to 86 kilograms)
  • They have long, shaggy coats.
  • Bushy tail and a sloping back.
  • Anal gland secretions are used for marking territories.
  • The females have genitals resembling those of males.

Natural Environment

Spotted hyenas are found in grasslands, woodlands, savannas, subdeserts, forest edges and mountains.

Behaviour

Spotted hyenas are organized into territorial clans of related individuals. The center of clan activity is the den, where the cubs are raised and individuals meet.

Hyenas mark and patrol their territories by depositing a strong-smelling substance produced by the anal glands on stalks of grass along the boundaries. "Latrines," places where members of a clan deposit their droppings, also mark territories. Hyenas are social animals that communicate with one another through specific calls, postures and signals.

Diet

Hyenas consume animals of various types and sizes, carrion, bones, vegetable matter and other animals' droppings. The powerful jaws and digestive tract of the hyena allow it to process and obtain nutrients from skin and bones.

Predators and Threats

African legends and folklore associate the hyena with witchcraft and the supernatural. Like many predators, hyenas become targeted when they take livestock for prey.

Facts for Fun

  • Hyena cubs are born with their eyes open
  • They consume other animal droppings
  • Hyenas make a variety of vocalizations, including wailing calls, howling screams and the well-known "laughter" used to alert other clan members up to three miles away of a food source.
Carnivores

Lion & Oryx

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