Hyenas are fascinating creatures! These wild critters are perhaps most famous for having a sense of humour – however, there is of course a little more to them than that! In this fact file, we’re going to be unpacking some fascinating titbits about these beasts, some which you might even have a chuckle or two at yourself, so without further ado, here’s 14 interesting facts about Hyenas…
Generally, there are four different types of hyena which you’ll find out in the wild. These are the brown hyena, the spotted hyena, the striped hyena and the aardwolf. They will all vary in terms of size, bulk and girth.
It’s a misconception that hyenas are wild dogs. They are, in fact, their own species, unrelated to canine and feline families. Hyenas form their own family, Hyaenidae.
It’s thought that there are around 10,000 hyenas living in the wild right now, and they have no natural predators – instead, they find themselves, sadly, under threat from human hunters.
Hyenas are born with their eyes shut, and they will normally stay closed for over a week afterwards.
Some hyenas are being carefully watched by conservation groups, particularly the brown hyena – and efforts are being made to try and stop further decreases.
The idea that hyenas laugh is something of a misconception. This is actually their call, which can sound as though people are laughing! It’s only spotted hyenas that have this distinctive noise, however.
In fact, striped hyenas are completely silent – they let their bodies do the talking!
Hyenas are, on the whole, very expressive animals – they use a variety of calls and body movements to express themselves – they are excellent at picking up on signals.
Hyenas tend to be very clever at building stocks of food, and waste no time in cleaning up their meals. They are known to strip everything edible off their prey – very efficient, it would seem!
Believe it or not, the hyena is closest to the meerkat, and possibly than the mongoose, than any other animal species on Earth. Hyenas have been around for longer than most, too – it’s thought they’ve been roaming for around 24 million years or more.
Hyenas are extremely sociable animals – it’s rare you will find one out on its own. Research suggests that their clans can be enormous – with up to 80 members at any one time.
Some hyenas, believe it or not, will only eat insects! Aardwolves are insectivores, and will largely feed on termites. This is interesting in itself, as termites are known to secrete toxins which are poisonous to most predators. The aardwolf? Never fazed by it.
Generally, you will find that hyenas are nocturnal animals, though some are known to go hunting in the morning.
Hyenas don’t get on well with lions – if a certain Disney movie didn’t already tell you that! In nature, this is because they will often hunt down the same prey, which will lead to a scuffle or two – which as you can imagine, can get nasty.
Do you know any interesting or fun facts about Hyenas? Share them here in the comments section below!