10 Spotted Hyena Facts

Spotted Hyenas belong to the largest of the Hyena family and are often known for their hysterical laughter, eerily similar to a human laugh, but there is much more to them than just their laugh.

The reddish-brown and black markings on the spotted hyenas’ fur give them their name. Spotted Hyenas have solid necks and jaws, as well as robust forequarters. They possess one of the animal kingdom’s most powerful bites. Typically, you may find them throughout Central and Southern Africa.

In this article, we’ll look at the multiple characteristics that distinguish them from other hyenas.

2 Spotted Hyenas

10 Facts About Spotted Hyenas

Spotted hyenas are an interesting species with characteristics that differentiate them from other hyenas and animals.

1. Behavior and Speed 

Spotted hyenas are known to have good hearing and are extremely fast while running. 

They have great stamina so that they can run long distances without a sweat.

They also work in a pack to isolate their prey and feast on it; this sometimes leads to fights between the group.

2. Infamous Laughter

Spotted hyenas are known to be a vocal species, they make a wide variety of sounds, but one that has stuck with the general public is their laughter because of the depiction in popular media.

But why do these spotted hyenas laugh? 

A spotted hyena’s laughter is usually a form of communication to convey their frustration, fear, or excitement about something.

This distinctive laughter is most frequently heard when the animals are engaged in a hunt or collectively feasting on prey. 

Hyena waiting on breakfast

3. Largest Size

The spotted hyena is the largest compared to the other species, brown and striped. The female hyena is usually giant in comparison to the male hyena. 

In most cases, but not necessarily all, female spotted hyenas are stronger than males. This is because females grow quicker than males, as opposed to showing a lengthy maturation period.

A male spotted hyena can weigh anywhere from 40-55 kg, whereas a female spotted hyena usually weighs between 44-64 kg.

4. Hunters for Food

The spotted hyena is known as a hunter rather than a scavenger. They usually prefer hunting alone and having their prey this way.

However, spotted hyenas may hunt in a group, called a clan, to hunt bigger prey that might be difficult or impossible to hunt alone.

Hyenas are highly opportunistic hunters who wait to attack their target. 

5. Diet – Most Meat Consumption

Out of all the hyena species, the Spotted Hyena consumes the most meat as a predator. These spotted beasts usually eat up to 14.5 kg of meat per meal! 

Wildebeest, zebra, and several antelope species make up their typical diet, although if they reside close to cattle, they’ve been known to grab a few sheep. 

Spotted hyenas can consume larger prey while scavenging, including giraffes and elephants.

The teeth of spotted hyenas are so strong that they can break the bones of a giraffe.

6. Habitats – Don’t Have Dens

The Spotted Hyena doesn’t rest in a den, like other mammals.

Savannas, wetlands, semi-arid locations, and even highland forests are all suitable habitats for spotted hyenas and where they are usually found resting. 

Mature spotted hyenas don’t sleep in dens but in holes, shallow ponds, under shrubs, or scrub, anywhere they can find cover from the sun.

7. A lot of Enemies 

The spotted Hyenas have many rivals due to their habitat and prey choices.

The lion, however, is easily the Spotted Hyena’s most significant competitor due to the similarities between their habitat choice and prey.

It’s often noticed that after the spotted hyena has put in all the effort to kill prey, a hungry pride of lions will come and steal it.

Due to the possibility of fights, spotted hyenas must always remain vigilant. They can frighten lions away when they work together.

During a feed, spotted hyenas can also race against one another to try to finish the prey first, and at times, this leads to quarrels amongst the clan themselves. 

8. Great Social Skills 

Clans are collective groups of hyenas. They typically seek larger prey in clans. Spotted hyena clans can have up to 100 members.

Unlike many other species, females dominate the clan and are more significant than males.

Their distinctive chuckle is one of the main sounds they use for interaction. They sometimes scream to summon their offspring or ward off predators. 

Spotted Hyenas in the clan greet one another by squealing and groaning.

Spotted Hyena cub

9. High Intelligence

Spotted hyenas have an incredible intellect surpassing most wild animals in Africa. 

It’s believed that the development of hyena intellect resembles that of human intelligence, with success determined by intricate social behaviors. 

When it comes to collaborative or group problem solving, spotted hyenas surpassed even chimpanzees in studies, demonstrating that in some instances, hyena intellect may even reach a few of the higher primates.

10. Long Lives

One of the longest-living carnivores, spotted hyenas, can live into their 20s in the jungle.

It takes about three years to reach almost complete skull maturity, which is one of the top predators’ most delayed skull growths. 

The spotted hyena who lived the longest was kept in captivity and survived for 41 years and one month.

Final Thoughts on Spotted Hyenas

Spotted hyenas are an interesting species. They are the strongest among the other two species and extremely popular due to their distinctive laugh. 

These predators have a way of existing that is unique when compared to other animals. 

Whether it is how they hunt or how they protect themselves from the heat in the plains of Africa, everything they do is fascinating.

Spotted Hyena's on the side of the road

FAQs

What Is the Shape of a Spotted Hyenas Ear? 

The ears of the Spotted Hyena are smaller and more rounded than those of the Brown Hyena. The spotted hyena can be distinguished from the striped and brown hyenas by its rounder ears.

How Do Spotted Hyenas Digest Most Food?

The Spotted Hyena’s stomach contains unique acids that enable it to digest items other mammals cannot, including bones.

Why Do Spotted Hyenas Have Arched Backs?

Spotted hyenas possess relatively short torsos, broad withers, and lower rear parts, which cause their backs to conspicuously slope downhill toward the rump, deterring predators from gaining a firm hold.