SPOTTED HYAENA - Crocuta crocuta
SIZE: Shoulder height 80 cm, mass (m) 60 kg, (f)
COLOUR: Greyish yellow body. Feet and face darker
brown, oval shaped dark spots are scattered over the
POTENTIAL LONGEVITY: 25 years
WALKING SPEED: 5 km/ hr
RUNNING SPEED: 50 km/ hr
GESTATION PERIOD: 3 months
MOST LIKE: Brown Hyaena, but spotted hyaena have rounded
ears and short yellowish coat with brown spots. Brown
hyaena is totally brown.
HABITAT: Semi-desert to moist savanna. Avoids forests,
must have drinking water and places to shelter among
rocks in burrows, scrub or tall grass.
The spotted hyaena moves in packs which average 10 to 30
animals, although sometimes they are found in groups of
up to 80. Each marks out its territory with scents from
anal glands and glands situated between the toes. They can
cover large distances and have huge territories. Where clans
chase and kill prey within the territory of another clan,
they are usually driven off, and the prey is eaten by the
owners of the territory.
The spotted hyaena, when in large enough groups, will drive
lions and leopards from their kill and attack cattle kraals
and even solitary humans. They have excellent night vision,
as well as acute smell and hearing, and with this they hunt
very successfully in the dark. Packs are controlled by a
matriarchal female, and females form the social nucleus
of the clan, which usually consists of extended family groups.
Usually 2 to 3 young are born.
|The Spotted Hyaena has an astonishing
appetite: it swallows large chunks of meat noisily and voraciously.
The shoulders and sloping back are supported in front by powerful
forelegs capable of running fast: they knock down prey and carry
it off for home consumption. Due to their powerful necks and
forequarters they can carry a heavy section of carcass high
off the ground.
They also have heavy teeth and jaws which can shred tough carcasses
in just a few minutes: the jaw of a spotted hyaena can splinter
bone, and its digestive system processes bone and hide with
ease. They tend to eat whatever is available and can hunt and
scavenge a wide variety of prey, therefore their diet varies
between different localities: however, the majority of their
diet consists of medium-sized to large ungulates. They are known
for their distinctive calls, hence the saying 'to laugh like
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