The hyena is not just a hyena. There are four different species in Africa; the spotted hyena, the brown hyena, the striped hyena and the earth wolf. The first three are clearly most reminiscent of each other. The spotted is the most widespread and is found only in Africa, while the striped hyena will also be found in many places in the Middle East, for example on a trip to Borneo . The female hyena is incredibly aggressive and totally undermines the male. The male has the lowest place in the clan’s highly structured social hierarchy.
Facts about the hyena
|Location:||Africa, Asia Middle East|
|Life expectancy:||25 years|
|Size:||110-130 centimeters long|
|Food:||Carrion and meat|
|Fun fact:||Hyena pups fight a deadly battle for dominance right after they are born.|
The hyena types are generally very similar when it comes to its physique. However, the fur separates the different types. It is thus very obvious to see the difference between the spotted, striped and brown hyena, respectively. The spotted one is clearly the most common of the three. The hyena is characterized by its corpus being relatively short, but massive, with an almost wolf-like appearance. It is higher above the back than it is at the rear end, and the back gets a bent look. The hyena’s head is massive in size, the ears are large and round at the top and it has a strong jaw bite. The front legs of the hyena are longer than its hind legs. Like all other cat breeds, the hyena is a fog walker. It has large, light claws on all its paws, but as something unique, the hyena cannot pull its claws in like other cats. Its nails are thus developed for, that hyenas can run insanely fast and make sharp turns. Above the back, the hyena has a smaller rooster comb that runs from the head to the center of the back. As something special for the hyena, the female is the largest and most aggressive. The males have very little to say. The female hyena is stuffed with the male hormone androgen, which gives the females their masculine character. The hyena’s clitoris is i.a. less penis-shaped, which makes the mating session extremely difficult for both the female and male hyena.
According to DigoPaul, the hyenas are scavengers. That is, most of their food is ingested from already dead animals. It is especially the striped and the brown hyena whose food consists mainly of carrion. The spotted one makes a virtue out of hunting itself and catches itself approx. 90% of its prey. The rest are carrion. In this way, they can be compared to being a kind of rubbish bins of nature. The brown hyena also eats fruit and grass during certain periods. The hyena has a fantastic sense of smell, and the brown hyena can smell carrion at distances up to 14 km. The spotted hyena is the largest and has a very special digestive system. It is often only parts of the stomach that remain from the slaughtered animal when the hyena has finished devouring its prey. It can thus easily break down bone pieces of up to 9 cm in a few hours. The hyena has a very special hunting technique, which also makes them more reminiscent of dogs than other cat species. The hyena hunts with bites rather than claws. It thus lays down its prey by going after the throat of its opponent.
Hyenas are nature’s trash can. With their extremely degradable digestive system and very strong teeth and jaws, they can consume everything imaginable. Many cases have been seen where hyenas move into tent areas and eat pans and other metals. It can easily eat cans and car tires. There have even been cases of hyenas eating the leather from leather seats. The hyena easily digests what the other will die of, which also makes it possible for the hyena to digest carrion that has long since exceeded its expiration date. What is impossible for the hyena to digest, it flies up again like small balls.
The mating between hyenas is a special and troublesome session. The female has a penis-like clitoris, which means that the female must fully accept the mating situation before it is possible for the male to inseminate the female. This feature thus also prevents the female from rape, as she must give her full permission and confidence to the situation in order for mating to be possible. The male is smaller than the female, so the position for the two becomes quite awkward, and the course thus lasts only 4-12 min. The female often mates with the most passive and calm males. Aggressive males are therefore less likely to reproduce. Furthermore, the female must have confidence in the one she chooses. It can thus take the male hyena up to a year to bake the female hyena before she gives in.
The female is pregnant for approx. 110 days before she gives birth to 1-2 pups. It happens that the female gives birth to triplets, but it rarely occurs. The birth takes place in caves made of ground hogs, and the cave is arranged so that there is room for both the female and the young. The cubs are born aggressive, with fully grown cheek teeth. From birth, the struggle for dominance begins. The kids fight to the death against their siblings for the rank of the clan. The winner gets the first dish for various meals, and therefore also a better chance of growing strong. When the chicks are 2 to 5 weeks old, they are ready to be thrown to the ‘hyenas’ den’. They meet with the clan, where a lifelong battle for internal ranking begins. If the youngster ends up at the bottom of the range, it can expect daily beatings and degrading behavior from the remaining hyenas in the clan.