The Fascinating World of Hyenas

Hyenas are a  fascinating carnivorous mammal found in Africa and some regions of Asia. With their distinct laughing vocalization and powerful bodies, hyenas play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystems. The can be seen during a safari in Zimbabwe especially around a kill.  Let's explore more about these amazing creatures.

Hyena's Characteristics

Hyenas are known for their distinct laughing vocalization, which is actually a sign of excitement and aggression. They possess strong jaws, sharp teeth, and powerful bodies that aid in their hunting and scavenging abilities. With four species of hyenas, the spotted hyena is the most common and widespread. They have a life span of up to 25 years and can weigh up to 190 pounds (86 kg).

Living in Social Groups

Hyenas live in social groups called clans, led by a dominant female. They are highly adaptable to various habitats, ranging from deserts to grasslands. Living in clans helps them to hunt, protect their territories and raise their young ones. They play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of their ecosystems as both scavengers and predators. Despite their reputation as sneaky and cowardly, hyenas are respected for their strength, intelligence, and resilience.

I love drawing hyenas 
Tonderai Mujuru




Sculptor Cyril Mangenda - Shona Sculpture


Charcoal and pastel pencils on A1 size paper

Powerful Hunting Abilities

With the ability to reach speeds of up to 50 mph (80 km/h) in short bursts, hyenas are relatively fast animals. They can pursue prey over long distances and maintain high speeds for several minutes, making them effective hunters and successful scavengers. Their endurance allows them to cover vast territories in search of food, outrunning and outlasting many other predators. Hyenas are opportunistic hunters, meaning they eat a variety of food sources. Their diet can include carrion, small to medium-sized mammals such as antelopes, birds, reptiles, fish, and insects. They are also known to hunt in packs and can take down large prey such as wildebeest, zebras, and even young elephants or rhinos.

Hyenas in Culture

Hyenas have played a significant role in human culture throughout history. In African folklore, hyenas are associated with witchcraft, and their body parts are used in traditional medicine. In ancient Egyptian mythology, the goddess of childbirth and fertility, Heket, was depicted with the head of a hyena. In popular culture, hyenas are often portrayed as villains or scavengers, but they are fascinating creatures with unique characteristics and behaviors.

Hyenas are incredible creatures that play a vital role in their ecosystems. They are powerful hunters, successful scavengers, and highly adaptable to various habitats. Despite their reputation, hyenas are intelligent, resilient, and fascinating animals that deserve our respect and admiration.

Enjoy a short Youtube Video showing a family of Hyenas