Spotted Hyena

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Spotted hyena
Temporal range: Late Pliocene – Recent
Spotted hyena in Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Hyaenidae
Genus: Crocuta
Species: C. crocuta
Binomial name
Crocuta crocuta
(Erxleben, 1777)
Spotted hyena range

The spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) is a species of hyenas. They are often called the laughing hyena and the tiger wolf. They live in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This is because they are found almost everywhere in Africa. There are between 27,000 to 47,000 individuals. However, their population is getting smaller in the wild. This is because of habitat loss and illegal hunting. They are believed to have been from Asia. They are also believed to have been living in Europe for at least one million years until the end of the Late Pleistocene period.

The spotted hyena is the largest member of the Hyaenidae. They are different from other hyenas. They are the only mammalian species to not have a vaginal opening. The spotted hyena are the most social Carnivora animals. They have the biggest group sizes in that group. Their behaviors are still difficult to understand by humans. Other animals such as baboons and macaques have been compared with the social behaviors of the spotted hyena. Their social system is not cooperative but competitive. They will have access to kills, allowed to mate and the ability to be leader to several other members. Females will take care of their own cubs than each others. Males are not interested in helping females with their cubs. Females are larger than males and they can control them.

The spotted hyena is a successful animal when hunting their prey. They are also scavengers and can eat skin, bone and other animal waste. Spotted hyenas will hunt with up to 2-5 other hyenas. They will run around herds of animals and choose one to attack. After they have selected their prey, they will chase them for a long time. They can run at speeds up to 60 km/h. Humans have seen spotted hyenas since the Upper Paleolithic period. At the time, they used paintings in caves to describe what they saw. Spotted hyenas has a negative reputation in both Western culture and African folklore. In African folklores, spotted hyenas are described as ugly and scared animals. In Western culture, they are seen as greedy, stupid, foolish, powerful and a dangerous animal.

Books[change | change source]

  • Estes, Richard (1998). The safari companion: a guide to watching African mammals, including hoofed mammals, carnivores, and primates. Chelsea Green Publishing. ISBN 1-890132-44-6
  • Funk, Holger (2010). Hyaena: On the Naming and Localisation of an Enigmatic Animal. GRIN Verlag. ISBN 3-640-69784-7
  • Kingdon, Jonathan (1988). East African mammals: an atlas of evolution in Africa, Volume 3, Part 1. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-43721-3
  • Mills, Gus; Mills, Margie (2011). Hyena Nights & Kalahari Days. Jacana Media. ISBN 1-77009-811-9

Other websites[change | change source]