At the mere mention of a hyena, what most people visualize is a dog like animal, distributed in parts of Africa and Asia. The spotted hyena fact about laughing are not new to animal lovers. It screams, makes crackling laughs, and makes various sounds to alert the remaining members of the group for food. The laughing sound can be heard from a distance of 3 miles. Scroll down for more fun facts about hyenas.
Interesting Facts about Hyenas
According to evolutionary history, hyenas were believed to have evolved from arboreal species, somewhere about 26 million years ago. Despite its small size, hyena is a predominant carnivorous animal species in Africa. The standing posture is similar to that of a bear. This is because, the back pair of legs are shorter than the front legs. Some more amazing facts are highlighted below.
There are four types of hyenas in the African animals list, viz. spotted hyena (Crocuta Crocuta), brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea), striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena), and the aardwolf (Proteles cristatus). Of these, the largest is spotted hyena, which at maturity weighs up to 190 pounds. After this, the brown and striped hyenas lead the list of large species. The smallest is aardwolf, which main diet comprises insects.
Hyenas prefer to thrive in savannas, grasslands, forests, sub deserts, woodlands, and higher latitudes. They make their den in an elevated region, which is connected with several other tunnels located underground. This helps in protecting themselves from the intruders. As far as the habitat distribution of striped hyenas is concerned, they are found abundantly in India and some other Asian countries.
Hyena is considered as both scavenger and carnivore. The versatility in the food preference increases the survival fitness of this four-legged, wild animal. Although it prefers to feed on animals that have been killed by other carnivores, which is why they are referred to as scavenger animals, hyenas actually kill more than 90% of their prey themselves. It's most hunted prey include wildebeest, monkeys, and birds.
Hyena is a nocturnal mammal and prefers to live in packs, thus scaring away their predators. In case of spotted hyena, the group is named as a clan and comprises about 80 hyenas. They mark their territory and fight for defending intruders. A female from the group rules as a matriarch. In contrary to other animals that remain in groups, hyena often fight amongst themselves.
Speaking about spotted hyena facts, the males weigh about 45 - 60 kg, while the weight of females falls somewhere between 55 - 75 kg. Interestingly, the female hyenas are dominant over the male population. They attain sexual maturity after 2 - 3 years. There is no specific mating period as such. In a clan of spotted hyenas, the population of females is higher than the number of male hyenas.
A strange fact regarding hyena is that the female avoids mating with the male of the same clan. Rather, it mates with an adult male from a different clan. After gestating for about 3 months, the female gives birth to cubs. A litter of hyena comprises about 2 - 4 young ones. Although they can feed on meat from their 5th month, the cubs suckle from their mother for 1 - 1½ years.
On an average, spotted hyenas live for 20 - 25 years in the wild. In captivity, it has a record of living for as long as 40 years. On the other hand, striped hyenas survive for approximately 12 years in the wild. When kept in captivity, the lifespan of this wild animal increases as there is no threat from predators, and the captive hyenas are fed with a well-balanced diet.
Fun Facts about Hyenas
Hyenas are intriguing creatures and their level of intelligence is compatible to primates. This is evident from the findings concerning hyena brain. Listed below are some quick facts about hyenas, which will leave you astounded.
- Hyenas greet just like dogs. This led to the misconception that this carnivorous animal is related to dogs.
- Believe it or not, hyenas were domesticated by the ancient Egyptians. The main purpose for rearing hyenas was to use them as sources of food.
- The young hyenas (cubs) are born with open eyes, which is different from other cubs. They stay in the den for 1 year, after which they accompany their mother in hunting.
- One of the interesting thing about hyenas is the increased level of testosterone hormone in female as compared to that of the male counterpart.
- In female hyenas, this hormone is found to be three times higher than in males. No wonder, the female population are more masculine and aggressive than the male hyenas.
- The hyena tends to steal food from other carnivorous animals. This act is considered quite irritating to other carnivorous animals that share the same habitat with the hyena.
- Despite the size, the jaws of hyena are very strong. Also, the digestive system of hyena is adapted in such a way that it can digest all types of animal products, ranging from soft meat to tough skin, and hard bones.
- In the natural habitat, common predators of hyenas are the leopard, lion, hunting dogs, and crocodile.
These were some amazing facts about hyenas. Irrespective of the hyena characters, like dominating behavior and carnivorous diet, the population of this strong-jawed animal has decreased significantly in the last few decades. Thus, hyena is included in the list of threatened animal species. The main threats to this carnivore are loss of habitat and increased hunting.