Wild Fact #368 – The Definition of Teamwork – Spotted Hyena
Today was another one of those days where I review the animals completed to date, only to be shocked that we have yet to explore the life of the Spotted Hyena. Here is an animal that is stunning in every sense of the word, I simply forgot about them. We will have to correct that oversight by taking a quick, mid-week trip to Africa to learn about one of the more famous carnivores found on the African continent. The Spotted Hyena is also known as the Laughing Hyena as well as the Tiger Wolf and if you ask me, all three of their common names are pretty cool sounding.
The Famous Carnivore
As mentioned the Spotted Hyena is one of the more famous carnivores in Africa, even if this reputation is built around their stealing capabilities. It is true that the Hyena is very proficient at stealing the prey of other predators; however, they are also efficient hunters themselves. The Spotted Hyena is known for taking down larger animals such as wildebeest or antelope. As well, they have been known to hunt a variety of smaller animals such as birds, snakes, lizards and even insects. I guess having a diverse diet comes in handy when you live in a harsh environment such as Africa.
The Laughing Carnivore
The Laughing Hyena is also known for making a wide range of sounds, including their famous “laugh” that gave rise to this particular common name. Looking at this noisy, pack animal, you may think they are closely related to canines; however, they are actually more closely related to the dog’s nemesis….the feline. It is tough to believe but it is true. Evolution sure can be tricky sometimes, can’t it?
The Strategic Carnivore
We know that the Spotted Hyena is a pack animal and they can often be found living in large groups, referred to as clans, that can contain as many as 80 individuals. These incredibly large “clans” are lead by the female and play an important role in their hunting strategy. Yep, they will typically use their large numbers to isolate an antelope or wildebeest from their herd. Nothing like a little bit of teamwork when you are preparing dinner. Although, once dinner is caught, there tends to be quite a bit of bickering as to who should eat first. I guess the Spotted Hyena isn’t much different that 5 teenagers all living under the same roof.