Hyena photo and description, appearance and where lives

Hyena (lat. Hyaenidae) is a wild mammal that is similar in appearance to the dog, wolf. Family of Guyenovs, subordinate catshaped, detachment predators. If you translate from Latin, the name can be translated as a pig or wild boar. This is due to the physiological characteristics of the hyena, namely the bristle back, an unpleasant odor that these animals exude.

general description

Hyenas are one of the unusual and interesting animals that can be found in the steppes, the foothills of the African continent, the savannah. Due to their appearance, behavior, many people relate to them dismissive. However, these animals are orderlies for the desert areas of Africa, Savann, foothills, plains. They support natural balance in nature hunting small animals, destroy the remains of other living creatures.


Hyena the predator is quite large. The average body length is 165 cm, a height of 90 cm (at the withers). The weight of females reaches 64 kg. The mass of males is rarely approaching 55 kg.

The coat in color differs depending on the type of hyenas, as well as their age. The most popular shades are yellowish-gray, grayish-brown. The total background is supplemented by spots, which can be of various shades and sizes. On the entire length of the tail you can see brown rings, and the death is black. Nose, lower jaw black, hairline on the paws lighter than a shade of wool on the body.

Types of hyenas

In nature, you can find 4 types of hyenas:

Striped large mammals. Body length 150 cm, height at the withers 80 cm (averaged parameters). In this variety, males are larger than females. The average wool length is 7 cm. Woolen cover can be brown-yellow or dirty gray shade. There are stripes on it that go across the body. The ears of the spotted hyenas are sharp, wide, the skull is massive, slightly extended. Favorite habitats rocky foothills, clay deserts. Hunt at dusk and at night. Когда день, полосатые гиены прячутся в пещерах, оставленных норах, ущельях. One of the features of this breed is its representatives not only in Africa.

Striped hyena

Spotted typical representatives of this family. Body length of spotted hyenas up to 1.6 meters, height at the withers 80 cm. Males are much less than females. Their average mass is 50 kg. The weight of females can reach 85 kg. Wool can be sandy or yellow-gray shade. Supply of woolen cover there are spots of various sizes, black or dark brown tint. One of the differences from other species is short ears with rounded tips. When communicating with other individuals in the pack, they use the largest number of sounds. Mostly hunting in the dark. However, sometimes they can be seen in open areas during the day. Females dominate in flocks.

Spotted hyena

Brown compared to striped counterparts, individuals of this species are smaller in size. The length of their body does not exceed 120 cm, the average height at the withers is 70 cm. In size females and males are almost identical. By mass, males of brown hyenas are more than females, can weigh up to 50 kg. The total woolen cover has a brown-brown tint. Staining legs and head gray. Shoulders, neck white. The skull of brown hyenas is greater than in striped ones, the teeth are much stronger. The prevailing habitat zones are semidesert areas. Sometimes flocks of such predators can be found in forests, savannah. Hunt, like relatives late evenings, at night.

Brown hyena

Earth wolves are the smallest representatives of the hyenas. They have a fragile physique. Body length up to 100 cm, height at the withers no more than 50 cm, mass rarely reaches 15 kg. By the appearance of the head, earthen wolves can be compared with dogs due to an elongated skull. The woolen cover has a red or yellowish-gray shade, there are black transverse stripes on the body. The jaws are underdeveloped, the teeth are not as durable as that of representatives of other species. This is due to the specific diet of earthen wolves. They use large beetles, larvae, termites. There are 5 fingers on the limbs, which is the next difference from other varieties of hyenas. Earth wolves settled in the southern and eastern regions of Africa. Animals prefer shrubs, sandy plains. They are engaged in searches for insects at night, however, they sit in earthen shelters during the day, which are digging themselves for themselves.


A separate one needs to consider the now nonexistent type of Pachycrocuta Brevirostris. These are extinct predators, which were much larger than their living relatives. The average mass of these predators reached 110 kg.

Where they live

All the variety of hyenas lives on the territory of Africa. They can be found in foothills, halfdeserts, deserts, savannahs. Sometimes the habitat of certain types of predators intersects, which is why they have to share one territory.

Most often, hyenas are found in Kenya, Sudan, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa. As an exception, striped hyenas can be distinguished. They are often met in Central Asia, some flocks reach India.

What they eat

Striped, brown hyenas are scapulars. But when there are problems with prey fell, they can eat bird eggs, turn nests, catch small vertebrates and invertebrates.

Spotted hyenas hunt small animals, with packs can drive large animals. If possible, they can take away the prey from leopards, cheetahs, jackals. In those situations where there are farms, private houses on the territory of the distribution of predators, they can steal pets. Speaking about hungry times, spotted hyenas feed on food screenshot, carrion.

These predators have a very unpretentious, strong digestive system. She is able to process even bones. However, in addition to the flesh of the murdered prey, it fell, hyenas eat watermelons and melons if they can find them.

Natural enemies

Any larger predator can be called enemies of hyenas in nature. These include tigers, leopards, lions. They rarely attack packs of smaller predators, but very often attack loners.

The battles between the flocks of hyenas are not rare, when it comes to expanding the boundaries of influence, protecting your own home.


Among most people there is an opinion that hyenas are evil and very dangerous predators. This is most often due to the fact that they feed on carrion or flocks drive other animals. However, this is only a way of life that their nature undertakes, the habitat, where there is no other food. In those places where hyenas live, there are many more dangerous predators.

The fact that hyenas are not absolutely evil predators indicates their behavior at home. They willingly come to contact with a person, they can be tamed, especially when it comes to babies who are not yet used to the wild. It is best to keep them in a spacious aviary, however, periodically release a walk outside it under supervision. It is important to earn the respect of the hyena, after which it will become the same true friend as the dog.

Features and characteristics

As for the features of these predators, it is necessary to consider their methods of hunting, protective status, and relationships in the pack.

The hierarchy between individual individuals of the same pack is based on several principles:

  1. Older females occupy the main role. They receive the most privileges the former try prey, rest in cool places, and not in the sun. At the same time, they give the largest and most healthy offspring compared to the rest.
  2. Low class females are inferior to senior in privileges. They begin to eat only after the elders ended the meal. They are allowed to relax on the distance from older females.

All other participants in the flock on the hierarchical chain follow the females of the low class.

In terms of hunting, to drive prey, hyenas gather in flocks. At the same time, predators can persecute the selected victim at a range of 5 km, accelerating to 65 km/h. Due to this, most animals cannot escape from the pack.

Every year the population of all types of hyenas is reduced. This is due to the reduction of the feed base, environmental pollution, and the development of new territories by a person. At the same time, these predators are poorly studied, due to the fact that they live in hard-to-reach areas, lead a mainly night lifestyle.

To protect the Hyena population from complete disappearance, and it is also better to study these animals, their habits, behaviors, communication, and separate spacious aviaries are erected in the zoos around the world for their living.

Interesting Facts

In addition to the above information, many interesting facts are associated with hyenas:

  1. On history, many unpleasant, terrible stories and legends were associated with these animals. This was determined by the unpleasant appearance of predators, their features of nutrition, the unpleasant odor that came from them, and most importantly a laughter that looks like human.
  2. Among many people there is an opinion that hyenas are cowardly predators that can only attack. However, lonely individuals often come to conflicts with the same single lions in terms of prey.
  3. Considering relationships in the pack, we can say that everything here is based on matriarchy. Males are inferior to females in the hierarchy.
  4. The appearance of the genitals in females and males is similar, however, their role is different. Because of this, the ancient Greeks considered these animals hermaphrodites.
  5. In case of danger, the lonely hyena will most often not resist. Their favorite trick is to pretend to be dead, waiting for the danger to disappear.
  6. Despite the fact that hyenas belong to the cat family, they love water, often bathe, especially in hot weather.
  7. Females are very caring mothers. Before eating prey on their own, they feed their kids.

Special attention should be paid to the laughter of hyenas. To communicate with each other, they use various sounds. Most often it is a laughter that looks like human, but is more crazy, strange. Such sounds make the dominant individuals in the pack to tell their “lower” to gather that they ate their part of the prey, they free up the meal. Thanks to this, the hierarchy is accurately supported.

At the same time, unpleasant, specific laughter is inherent only to spotted hyenas. Similar sounds cannot make brown and striped varieties of predators. For communication, they grumble, bark, shout, howl.

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