Hyenas are carnivorous mammals mostly found in the Forest, Savannas, grasslands and sub desert areas of the Asia and Africa. These dog-like species have a limited diversity and resemble in their morphology to canines. Spotted, brown, stripped and Aardwolf are the four distinguishable kinds of hyenas present which differ from each other on the basis of their sizes and preferences for diet. The males and female hyenas have almost similar physiology and their average life span is about 10-12 years.
However, enlisted are few even interesting facts about Hyenas that you might have been missing out.
Hyenas is one of the smallest class of Mammalia and the fifth smallest family of Carnivora having only four distinct species regarded as the stripped, spotted, brown and Aardwolf. They mostly dominate the African ecosystem being a vital part of its food web.
Spotted hyenas prefer to stay in clans and act together to protect their territory from the intruding hyenas. There is a den in the central part of the territory which is actually the center of activities for hyenas and the cubs are also raised here. From the den emerge several underground tunnels. They mark their territories with their dropping that are of chalk white color and communicate with each other via various postures, signals and calls.
Hyenas are opportunistic feeders as well as scavengers. They opt for the easiest form of food available to them including bones, carrion, vegetable matter and droppings of other animals. Their digestive system allows them to obtain nutrients from the skin and bones of other animals. 95% of the time Hyenas directly kill their preys before feeding on them.
Female hyenas give birth to either two or four cubs which in two of the species are born with their eyes open. Till the age of one, they are taken care of by an adult inside the den after which they follow their mothers on killing activities. They ae fed on meat not before they reach the age of five months.
Lions are the biggest threat to hyenas who will attach on them very time the see a hyena roaming around. Other predators include hunting dogs and some other strange species of hyenas against which their line of defense it to stay in group and fight he enemy together.
Hyenas are known for the laughter sound they make in order to alert other hyenas within 3 miles of range about the food source. Wailing calls and howling screams are some other form of vocalization used by hyenas to get their message across the clan.
It is difficult in Hyenas to differentiate between the males and females because of their almost similar genitals. The females have pseudo-penis more like a tube that makes a mating a difficult process. They are sometimes seen as hermaphrodite although they are not. Only the females give birth and take care of the young ones.
They weigh about 180 pounds and reach about 30 inches in height. Despite of being highly social, intelligent and fast animals, they are regarded as awful creatures by many. People consider them to have trapped damned souls inside of them.
Females of the clan are more muscular, large and aggressive and often play a dominating role. Even the highest ranking male in the clan is the sub ordinate of the lowest ranking female.
It is very rare that a hyena is frightened but when they do, they tuck their tails within the legs, flat against their bellies and usually skulk away.