Although they are relatively small compared to some other African creatures, hyenas are the most common carnivore in Africa. They can weigh between 90 and 190 pounds and stand 28 to 35 inches tall. The spotted hyena has a tan or brown coat with dark spots and a dark face.
Spotted hyenas live in Africa and can range in habitats from grasslands, savannas, woodlands, deserts, forests and mountains. They usually sleep in dens.
Sexual dimorphism is prominent in hyenas. Females are about three times larger than males, have more muscle mass and are more aggressive due to an excess of testosterone in their bodies. Hyenas have a range of vocal sounds, including one that sounds like laughter when they are excited.
Hyenas have a wide diet range and are both hunters and scavengers. In addition to scouring other predator's meals, hyenas will eat lizards, birds, snakes and insects but also have the ability to take down an antelope or wildebeest. Because their jaws are so strong, hyenas have the ability to eat bones, teeth and hooves. Generally, hyenas eat at night.
Hyenas live in clans up to 100 hyenas, with a female hyena acting as matriarch. Unlike other species that live in groups, hyenas fight each other often. The females fight one another for dominance, and the females display aggressive signs to keep the males in line.
- Ancient Egyptians domesticated the hyena and used it as a food source.
- Female hyenas tend to have three times as much testosterone than male hyenas.