The Scrappy Hunters of the African Savannah


The brown hyena is a dog-like animal found in southern Africa. The hyena’s strong bite, varied diet, and recognizable smell are is not the only amazing facts about these animals, however.

A brown hyena usually weighs 81.6 to 110.2 pounds: females average 83 to 89 pounds, while males average 89 to 96 pounds. Hyenas mainly feed on carrion, which is the flesh of a dead animal. If they need to, though, they will also catch live prey. Hyenas supplement their diets with vegetables, eggs, and fruit. They also sometimes rely on the leftovers of other predators. They are very good hunters, which is a useful skill in the wild.

Some distinctive characteristics of the hyena are its forepaws, jaws, teeth, mane, and anal pouch. Its forepaws have four claws that they use to enlarge their dens, though they are not very sharp. Its jaws are short but strong when it comes to chopping through tough hides and bones. The hyena’s overlarge, flapping ears keeps it cool in the desert, and it uses its long mane as a type of warning during conflict with other hyenas. Last but not least, the hyena’s anal pouch is a group of glands that releases strong smelling secretions to help the hyena mark its territory. Each hyena emits its own unique smell, which helps them recognize each other.

With a number of fascinating and special traits, hyenas have learned to adapt well to their environment.

[Sources: The Encyclopedia of Animals; animalstime.com]

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