Hyenas vary in size. Largest are spotted
hyenas with 35 inches in height and 90 pounds in weight. Smallest are
aardwolves with 20 inches in height and 60 pounds in weight.
Females are larger and more dominant than
Hyenas live in territorial and large clans
that can consist of up to 80 members. Aardwolves are solitary animals that
gather only during mating season.
They are both hunters and scavengers (they
Aardwolf eats termites.
They are nocturnal animals (hunt at night).
Hyenas mark their territory with white
droppings produced in the anal gland. This substance has a strong smell and it
informs other hyenas that territory is already occupied.
Hyenas use various sounds, postures and
signals to communicate with each other.
One of the most characteristic sounds that
hyena produce is laughter. This sound alerts other hyenas that new food source
Worst enemies of hyenas are lions and hunting
dogs. Hyenas are cannibals. They may attack and eat other hyenas, especially when
they are young.
Male and female hyenas look alike and have
very similar genitals, but they are not hermaphrodites (animals that may act
both as males and as females at the same time). Only female hyena gives birth
and takes care of her cubs.
After mating season, it takes 90-110 days for
babies to be born. One female gets 2-4 cubs and she takes care of them in the
“natal den” (special den reserved only for mother with cubs) for 4
Cubs fight with each other to establish
dominance and achieve best feeding position or desired order of feeding. This
fight might end up fatally.
Mother feeds cubs with milk 12-18 month, but
they will start eating meat as soon as they reach 5th month.
Hyenas live 10-12 years in the wild and up to
25 years in captivity.