[81] Mothers do not regurgitate food for their young. [45] A 63.1 kg (139 lb) spotted hyena is estimated to have a bite force of 565.7 newtons at the canine tip and 985.5 newtons at the carnassial eocone. [141], The species dwells in semi-deserts, savannah, open woodland, dense dry woodland, and mountainous forests up to 4,000 m in altitude. [63] Spotted hyena dens can have more than a dozen entrances, and are mostly located on flat ground. [101] There is at least one record of four hyenas killing an adult or subadult hippopotamus in Kruger National Park.
He adds three other animals within the category of hyenas, including an Ethiopian quadruped named "Crocotta", which was thought to be a hybrid between a hyena and a lioness. During daylight hours, they watch vultures descending upon carcasses. [13], Unlike other large African carnivores, spotted hyenas do not preferentially prey on any species, and only African buffalo and giraffe are significantly avoided.

There exists a common misconception that hyenas steal kills from lions, but most often it is the other way around,[111] and lions will readily steal the kills of spotted hyenas. [160], Several authors during the Scramble for Africa attested that, despite its physical strength, the spotted hyena poses no danger to hunters when captured or cornered.

They would not have been able to fight off a pack of hungry hyenas to protect their prize meal; a theory borne out by bones from the period that show cut marks from early stone tools mixed with tooth marks of hyenas, suggesting that hyenas were laughing at us and stealing our dinner for as much as 2.5 million years.

The crest is mostly reddish-brown in colour. “It is the vulgar notion, that the hyæna possesses in itself both sexes, being a male during one year, and a female the next,” wrote Pliny the Elder in his animal encyclopedia.

But Holekamp can’t see how this would be a strong enough evolutionary driving force to create a structure as reproductively damaging as the pseudo-penis.

Experienced hyenas even helped inexperienced clan-mates to solve the problem. [41] The dentition is more dual purposed than that of other modern hyena species, which are mostly scavengers; the upper and lower third premolars are conical bone-crushers, with a third bone-holding cone jutting from the lower fourth premolar. They have even out-performed chimpanzees on certain cooperative problem-solving tests.

This is pretty handy because, in addition to the dangers lurking in her precarious birth canal, a spotted hyena suffers a few other reproductive challenges. [88] When hunting Thomson's gazelles, spotted hyenas usually operate alone, and prey primarily on young fawns.

One of the most amazing hyena facts is that they are almost impossible to sex. Although protected and tolerated, Ugandan hyenas rarely occur outside protected areas. Also, many captive individuals have not been closely examined to confirm their sexes, thus resulting in non-breeding pairs often turning out to be same-sexed individuals. Spotted hyenas are quite vocal and make a wide variety of sounds, including the “laughing” that has long been associated with their name. Because of their size, adult hyenas are incapable of using the full extent of their burrows, as most tunnels are dug by cubs or smaller animals. As MinuteEarth explains, things take a downturn for the males of the species once they hit adolescence. Unlike most animals, where the males duke it out and the winner gets the girl, in spotted hyena clans the females dictate the who, where and when of copulation.