5 Interesting Facts | The Spotted Hyena

 
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Spotted Hyena Crocuta crocuta

Ugly, sly, cowardly...often misunderstood, Hyenas are strong, super smart animals that are built for endurance and are great hunters whether alone or in their clan groups. If ever an animal required a brand makeover, it's the Spotted Hyena.

A large, and successful doglike carnivore the Spotted Hyena can be found everywhere in Africa south of the Sahara except rainforest and true deserts up to 4000m (13,000 ft). They belong to the Hyena (Hyaenidae) family, whose members include the Brown and Striped Hyena as well as the largely nocturnal insectivore Aardwolf. Powerfully built with shoulders higher then hindquarters and long muscular limbs. Typically, they are the most abundant carnivores wherever antelopes and zebra abound.

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Did You Know?

  1. Although Hyenas are doglike, they are not dogs and are in fact more closely related to civets and mongooses.
  2. Hyenas have the extraordinary ability to eat and digest bone, horns, hooves and even teeth. Amazingly the digestion cycle for all of this is 24 hours. They are also the only carnivore capable of eating hide. Hyenas therefore, are able to utilise prey resource more completely and efficiently then other carnivores giving them a distinct advantage.
  3. Spotted Hyenas have 32-34 teeth including conical premolars designed specifically for cracking and crushing bone.
  4. Hyenas are the youngest and smallest carnivore family dating back only c. 10 million years with Spotted Hyenas appearing approximately c. 5 million years ago.
  5. Female Spotted Hyenas are larger then males and much more dominant, even on kills and when leading the clan on hunting patrols. Their role in protecting and feeding their offspring, as well as defending the den sites, has meant that female hyenas have evolved some very male traits. This has included the development of male sex hormones and genitalia which has resulted in females being much more aggressive and very masculine in their anatomy.

Photograph Spotted Hyenas firsthand

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