The Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) is a scavenging carnivorous African mammal.
It has a large head, sloping back, thick neck, and powerful jaws. Its front legs are longer than its back legs. Its fur is rough with a yellow-brown colour with spots. Its ears are round. Their feet have four toes with non-retractable claws.
They grow to about (28-35 inches) tall.
The hyena has the strongest bite of any mammal. It is a carnivore – a meat eater – and its strong jaws enable it to eat bones.
They usually hunt in groups, so that they can chase a prey (even a lion or buffalo) and grab it. If they hunt alone, they choose small or sick prey.
They are a scavenger. If another animal has killed their prey, hyenas often wait for leftovers (with vultures).
They can run up to 60 kilometres per hour (37 miles per hour).
The Spotted Hyena lives in the savannas, grasslands, and woodlands of Africa. They make a shallow hollow in the ground to rest, or sit under bushes.
They are active day and night.
They live in groups, called clans, of up to 100 individuals, but usually smaller groups.
Females are the leaders of the group. This is called a matriarchal society.
Female Spotted Hyenas are pregnant for 90-110 days before giving birth to live cubs. Females stay with their birth clan, but males leave the group when they are about three years old.
They can live up to 25 years.
They are not related to dogs. They are related to cats, civets, and genets.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
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