Spotted Hyena, Description, Distribution, Habitat, Diet, Behavior, Reproduction, Conservation, Threats, Lifespan, and Interesting facts
Spotted Hyena, Description, Habitat, Diet, Behavior, and Reproduction
The Spotted Hyena, a typical predator of the African savannah, was long thought to be a scavenger, but it is now known to be one of the most successful hunters. The Spotted Hyena has a bad reputation due to its sloping features, ungainly walk, and eerie call.
Long thought to be a dog, the Hyena is now thought to have more cat-like characteristics. The Spotted Hyena is well known for its macabre chuckle or "laugh," which is an essential nighttime sound in the African bush. This species is distinguished by its large head, sloping back, and an acute sense of smell.
Females are larger than males and dominate the social hierarchy. Females are 850 mm tall at the shoulders and weigh 70 kg, while males are 60 kg.
The spotted hyena has round ears and is yellow with dark spots. Female genitalia externally superficially mimic male reproductive organs, making gender identification difficult.
Spotted hyenas can be found in Sub-Saharan Africa (Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, and parts of South Africa), but not in the Congo rainforests. Savannas, open and dense dry woodland, grasslands, mountains, tropical rainforests, semi-deserts, and coastal areas are all home to them. Spotted hyenas frequently use caves as dens in the rocky areas of East Africa and the Congo, where they raise their young or rest during the midday heat.
These fascinating carnivores can be found in Africa south of the Sahara Desert. They can survive in savannas and swamps, as well as semi-arid and mountainous forest areas. Adult spotted hyenas prefer to sleep in holes or shallow pools, under bushes or scrubs, or anywhere else they can find shade during the day. Watering holes are used by hyenas to cool off or hide extra food. Spotted hyenas can be active at any time of day or night, depending on their needs and the presence of humans, but they are mostly active at night.
Some experts believe that the spotted hyena is Southern Africa's most successful carnivore, and certainly one of the most interesting, given its social structure. It was once thought to be a cowardly predator, but detailed field studies have revealed it to be an efficient, powerful predator.
It would scavenge of its own volition, and a pack of hyenas would drive lions off their kill to get at the spoils. Hyena clans, on the other hand, are formidable hunters who can more than meet their nutritional needs. They eat carrion and prey on other animals and they are young. They can chase their prey at 60 km/h for up to three kilometers.
A pack of hunting spotted hyenas can overwhelm prey such as buffalo, eland, and the potentially dangerous rapier-horned gemsbok.
Spotted hyenas have excellent hearing and night vision. They are quick and can run for long periods of time without tiring. Packs work well together to isolate and kill a herd animal, sometimes one that is ill or infirm. Victors frequently quarrel over the spoils, either among themselves or with other powerful animals such as lions.
Spotted hyenas are thought to be on the same level as certain primates in terms of social intelligence. They have excellent night vision because they are mostly nocturnal, hunting at night and sleeping or staying close to their den during the day. They have a matriarchal social order with clans of related individuals. The group of spotted hyenas is led by a female called Alpha. These animals mark their territories by secreting sebum from their anal glands and scratching the ground. Their "latrines" are located far from the den and serve as another means of defining their clan's territorial boundary. Spotted hyenas have a wide vocal range and use whoops, yells, grunts, growls, and giggles to communicate with clan members. Their other name comes from the sound of their giggling, which sounds like manic laughter.
Spotted hyenas are highly vocal and produce a wide range of sounds, including the "laughing" sound that has long been associated with their name.
This species' mating system is polygynous. Before mating, males perform a bowing display to attract females. Breeding occurs at any time of year, at 11 and 21-month intervals. Gestation lasts approximately 4 months, and 1-3 cubs (on average 2) are born inside a birthing den. A spotted hyena's milk is very rich, and cubs can go for several days between feeds, unlike wild dogs and lions. Allows raising cubs for females alone. The cubs are moved to a communal den by their mother between the ages of 2 and 6 weeks. The young are completely reliant on milk for about 8 months before weaning at 12-18 months. They mature between the ages of 2-3 years. Males leave their birth clan around the age of two, whereas females stay.
While spotted hyenas are not currently threatened, this could change. Drought can have a devastating impact on the food chain, affecting everything from herbivores to carnivores. The conflict between humans and hyenas is also common when the two compete for resources. Deforestation brings people and hyenas closer together, and hyenas that prey on livestock are unlikely to be treated well. Even in protected areas, spotted hyenas are still shot, poisoned, and trapped. Some of them are even used as target practice. Education is required to change public perceptions of this beneficial carnivore.
While most Spotted hyena populations in southern Africa appear to be stable, those in western and eastern Africa, including those in protected areas, appear to be declining. The main reason appears to be human persecution through shooting, poisoning, trapping, and snaring, even in protected areas, often in farming areas in response to actual or suspected hyena killing of livestock, or to protect livestock. A decline in habitat quality outside of protected areas is another threat.
21 years is the average life expectancy.
* Hyenas can consume one-third of their body weight in a single meal.
* Spotted hyenas can digest skin and bone, which most other animals cannot. These rare delicacies are broken down by special acids in their stomach.
* Fossils of hyenas have been discovered in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. However, the spotted hyena has only lived in Africa for the last 8,000 years.
* Spotted hyenas can trot at 6 miles (10 kilometers) per hour for long distances without tiring. They can run at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour and are excellent swimmers.
* The rounded ears of the spotted hyena distinguish it from the striped and brown hyenas.
* Despite their dog-like behavior and appearance, hyenas are more closely related to cats.
* The mother's milk of a spotted hyena contains the most protein of any land carnivore.