Spotted Hyaena - did you know
- although they look like dogs, are more closely related to cats than to dogs.
- can recognise individual calls of clan members over many kilometres. click here to listen to a spotted hyaena calling
- clans are territorial.
- females are larger than males and dominate them.
- females in general remain with their natal clan for life,males leave at about 2 years and become nomadic before settling in another clan
- will breed all year round and almost always give birth to twins. If both of the twins are female, one usually kills the other.
- cubs have a black/chocolate brown coat for about 3 months and live on milk alone from 6 to 9 months, then they will begin to take solid food and are weaned around 14-15 months.
- in contrast to e.g. lions, female spotted hyaena only suckle their own cubs.
- can sprint at 60 km/h and keep up a speed of 40 to 50 km/h over 4 or 5 km.
- may cover 40 km in a night.
- are skillfull hunters and will get more than 70% of their food from their own kills.
- can digest skin and bones, the only parts of prey not fully digested are hair, hooves and horns; these are regurgitated. (see picture)
- droppings are chalky white due to the high mineral content of the bones they consume.
- giggles are a sign of either excitement or fear. click here to listen to a hyaena giggling
- female have genitalia which look identical of that of the male.
- are considered the most sociable of the carnivores.
Watch a video of Spotted Hyaena at their den in Kruger National Park
Wild Ways – Peter Apps
Beat about the Bush – Trevor Carnaby
Safari Companion - Richard D. Estes
Behaviour guide to African mammals - Richard D. Estes
Kingdon Field Guide to African mammals - Jonathan Kingdon