South African wildlife – Spotted hyena

By Ed Yong | October 16, 2009 10:00 am

Our one and only sighting of the spotted hyena, an animal that is far more beautiful than its reputation might suggest. Hyenas are powerful predators too; as much if not more of their meat comes from their own kills as it does from scavenging.

I know this shot is blurry but I quite like it nonetheless.

A hyena mansion. In Sabi Sands, spotted hyenas make their homes in termite mounds, taking over and enlarging burrows and entrances previously created by aardvarks. They’re sturdy lodgings but not exactly luxurious ones – they are infested with parasites.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Animals, South African wildlife
MORE ABOUT: hyena, South Africa, spotted

Comments (7)

  1. Chris

    They are beautiful, aren’t they.
    I managed to get a single shot of one in Namibia in the very early morning, as it was presumably returning home, too shagged out to avoid photographers hiding in bushes.

  2. Sig; That’s a “Hyena Man”, a street performer/vendor who sells medicines and trinkets. The hyena is just a gimmick to get people’s attention.

  3. Anon

    Hyenas were among our favorites this summer–we saw them only a handful of times, but they are beautiful. Oh, and once we learned about their distinctive calcium-rich white scat, it was a bit of a wakeup call to find some only a couple of meters from our lodge.

  4. Sigmund

    Brian said;
    “The hyena is just a gimmick to get people’s attention.”
    I know, I was just joking!

  5. Sigmund; Ah, the pitfalls of teh intertubez. Sorry, Sigmund. I knew you were joking, but I didn’t know if you knew about the “hyena men” or not. I had not heard of them until relatively recently.

  6. Ed Yong

    Ah yes, I knew there was something I’d learned about hyenas that I forgot to write about. Like Anon says, they have really interesting droppings – bright white that crumbles into a powder. Their digestive juices are powerful enough to liquidise all manner of organic tissue including hooves, hair etc. All that’s left is bone.
    Oh and apparently, we had a leopard in our lodge one night drinking out of the pool šŸ˜‰


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