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Facts About Hyenas

Updated on June 8, 2016
Clan of Hyenas
Clan of Hyenas

The hyena is Africa's most common large carnivore.

Hyenas and lions often hunt the same prey and fight over the same territories. This leads to fierce competition between the two animals. Beside stealing each oher's food, they also kill off the young of their enemies.

Spotted hyenas are the largest of three hyena species (35 inches in height and 90 pounds in weight). Striped and brown hyenas are the other two. Females are larger, more aggressive, more muscular, and more dominant than males. This is because the females actually have more testosterone.

Male and female striped hyenas are similar in appearance, however, males are slightly larger.

Although hyenas appear similar to dogs, these animals are actually more closely related to cats

Hyenas vs lions
Hyenas vs lions

Spotted hyenas have good hearing and sharp eyesight at night. Hyenas are also fast and can run for long distances without tiring. Hyenas don't need to drink a lot of water, not only that, they can go days without water if needed.

A group of hyenas can devour an entire zebra - even the bones, just in under half an hour. However, they often fight and hurt each other over the remains of their meals.

Unique to hyenas are their amazing bone-crushing teeth. So much bone material they consume that their droppings have a chalky white color.

Spotted hyenas hunt and kill in packs. Different with many people believe, 95% of what hyenas eat comes from their own hunting. Of course, striped hyenas are a different story – they live off of carrion.

Spotted Hyenas, also known as the laughing hyena, make a lot of noises and sounds. They use various postures, sounds and signals to communicate with one another. Laughter is one of the most characteristic sounds they produce, this sound alerts other hyenas that new food source is found.

Hyena crushing bones
Hyena crushing bones

Female hyenas have only two nipples, and therefore litters of more than two have to fight to survive. Only the females give birth and takes care of their cubs.

Hyenas are both hunters and scavengers. They are also nocturnal animals (hunt at night). These cannibals have one of the strongest bites in the animal kingdom.

Hyenas often hunt in a group. When they hunt they typically hunt gazelles, zebras, and wildebeests. However, they also will hunt young hippos, snakes, fish and even elephants. Hyenas eat very fast and the fastest hyena gets the most food.

Hyenas are difficult to tame


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