Name: the spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) – also known as the laughing hyena – is one of four members of the hyena family. The others being the brown hyena, striped hyena, and the aardwolf.
Appearance: they are easily recognised by their bear-like build, rounded ears, and spotted fur.
Size: spotted hyenas are the largest of the hyena family – reaching around 70 to 90 cm at the shoulder and weighing 40 to 70 kg.
Diet: while they are often thought to be scavengers, spotted hyenas are highly efficient predators. They work together to chase down a range of prey – with antelopes and wildebeest being favourites. They have extremely powerful jaws which allow them to splinter and eat bones, and their highly efficient digestive system means they can digest them too!
Did you know: female hyenas have a unique and surprising secret. Instead of a typical vagina like most mammals, they actually have a pseudo-penis. This penis is pretty similar to the real thing and is used for urinating, having sex, and even giving birth!
Location: spotted hyenas once ranged across Europe although are now restricted to Sub-Saharan Africa. They are highly adaptable, sociable, and intelligent creatures that can be found in all habitats across the region except for the most extreme deserts, densest rainforests, and highest mountains.
Where to see Spotted hyenas
According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see spotted hyenas in the following places:
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Photo credit: carolehenderson under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay