There are four species of Hyena: spotted, brown, striped, and the aardwolf. All hyenas are usually nocturnal. The spotted hyena is the most well known.
Spotted hyena live in Africa in savannas, grasslands, woodlands, forest edges, subdeserts and mountains. They live in territorial clans of related individuals, sometimes up to 80 members. Spotted hyenas are hunters and scavengers. Besides flesh, they eat skin, bones, and even animal droppings. Spotted hyenas are 28 to 35 inches tall and weigh 90 to 190 pounds. The spotted females are heavier than the males. Spotted hyenas make a variety of sounds: wailing calls, howling screams, and the well-known "laughter," which is used to alert other clan members of a food source.
Striped hyenas live in Africa, Arabia, Asia Minor and India in savanna, thorn bush, and stony desert regions. They weigh from 55 to 121 pounds. Striped and brown hyenas are predominantly scavengers, though they do supplement their diets with small prey from insects to foxes.
The aardwolf, also, lives in Africa. It’s main food source is the harvester termite. They also eat insect larvae, and eggs of ground nesting birds. Aardwolf are smaller than other hyena relatives, weighing only 50 and 60 pounds and standing only 15 to 20 inches tall at the shoulder. Except when raising cubs, aardwolf are solitary animals.
Fun Hyena Facts
- In ancient Egypt hyenas were domesticated and raised for food.
- Female spotted hyenas are dominant over the males.
- Spotted hyena cubs are born with their eyes open!
- Hyenas can go for several days without water.
- In one feeding frenzy, a spotted hyena can eat up to one third of its body weight.
- Hyena are not related to dogs, although they do have some similar greeting ceremonies.
African Wildlife Foundation