Agriculture
Hungry bug seeks hot meal
Where Have All the Bees Gone?
Earth-Friendly Fabrics
Amphibians
Newts
Bullfrogs
Tree Frogs
Animals
Sleepless at Sea
A Sense of Danger
Blotchy Face, Big-Time Wasp
Behavior
Copycat Monkeys
Surprise Visitor
Lightening Your Mood
Birds
Flightless Birds
Pigeons
Storks
Chemistry and Materials
Makeup Science
Getting the dirt on carbon
Sugary Survival Skill
Computers
Earth from the inside out
Nonstop Robot
Look into My Eyes
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dinosaur Dig
A Rainforest Trapped in Amber
The man who rocked biology to its core
E Learning Jamaica
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
Earth
What is groundwater
A Great Quake Coming?
Distant Quake Changes Geyser Eruptions
Environment
Food Web Woes
Pollution Detective
Nanosponges Soak Up Pollutants
Finding the Past
A Plankhouse Past
The Taming of the Cat
Oldest Writing in the New World
Fish
Mako Sharks
Flounder
Great White Shark
Food and Nutrition
The Essence of Celery
Eat Out, Eat Smart
Food for Life
GSAT English Rules
Pronouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
Subject and Verb Agreement
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
How are students placed after passing the GSAT exam
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
GSAT Scholarship
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
42,000 students will sit for the GSAT Exam in two weeks
GSAT Mathematics
Play for Science
It's a Math World for Animals
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
Human Body
Foul Play?
Sleeping Soundly for a Longer Life
Taking the sting out of scorpion venom
Invertebrates
Dragonflies
Fleas
Octopuses
Mammals
Yaks
Rabbits
Basset Hounds
Parents
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Children and Media
Raise a Lifelong Reader by Reading Aloud
Physics
The Mirror Universe of Antimatter
Hold on to your stars, ladies and gentlemen
Gaining a Swift Lift
Plants
Bright Blooms That Glow
Making the most of a meal
Plants Travel Wind Highways
Reptiles
Iguanas
Boa Constrictors
Gila Monsters
Space and Astronomy
Saturn's New Moons
Dark Galaxy
Catching a Comet's Tail
Technology and Engineering
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Smart Windows
A Light Delay
The Parts of Speech
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Adjectives and Adverbs
What is a Preposition?
Transportation
Revving Up Green Machines
Robots on the Road, Again
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Weather
Either Martians or Mars has gas
A Change in Climate
Arctic Melt
Add your Article

African Hyenas

Hyenas are carnivores native to Africa and the Indian Subcontinent. They are members of the family Hyaenidae.

 


Not a Dog: Although hyenas look like rather large wild dogs, they make up a separate biological family which is most closely related to Herpestidae (the family of mongooses and meerkats).

Bone-crushing: The hyena has one of the strongest jaws in the animal kingdom and an adult of the species has only the large cats of the family Felidae (Lions, Tigers, etc.) to fear. An adult hyena's bite pressure can reach 800 lbs. per inch; it can crush bone.

Just the Facts: Hyenas range in length from 1.2 - 1.5 meters (3.9 - 4.9 ft) including the tail, which is 30 cm (12 inches) in length. An adult hyena weighs between 25 and 55 kg (55 - 120 lb). The pelt can be light to dark-brown on brown hyenas, while the color can be gray, sometimes nearly white on striped hyenas Aardwolves have a warm, sand-colored coat, while the coats of spotted hyenas can range from dark-brown fur to amber and reddish in color. However, some hyenas such as those in the lion king have spots.

Built for the Chase: Their front legs are actually longer than their back legs, giving them their distinctive gait. This feature, along with the fact that they have a heart twice the size of an adult lion, allows them to stalk their prey for many miles at about 6 mph, waiting for their prey to become exhausted from the chase, and then they can move in very quickly at speeds of up to 30 mph.

Brains and Brawn: Hyenas are also highly intelligent predators, even more intelligent than the lions (some scientists claim they are of equal intelligence to certain apes). One indication of hyena intelligence is that they will move their kills closer to each other to protect them from scavengers; another indication is their strategic hunting methods.


Hunting Strategy: The spotted hyenas are an example of how the cooperative form of hunting can be dictated by the type of prey, as well as the predator’s ability to hunt and kill the different types of prey.

When the hyenas hunt an animal that is bigger than themselves, they act in a dog or wolf-like behavior; they hunt in packs and together take down the prey by biting into it and dragging it to the ground. If they are after smaller prey, they will hunt alone in a fox-like manner.

Like dogs, but unlike other animals in the same habitat, hyenas do not kill their prey directly. Having chased their prey to exhaustion, their prey is unable to mount any further defense of itself, and is captured and eaten while still alive. Although somewhat distasteful from the human perspective, the speedy disembowelment of the prey means that death often comes sooner than with the methods employed by other predators (for example, suffocation) and is an efficient means of eating which lessens the probability of the kill being lost to another predator.

When in Rome... Hyenas adapt their specific hunting strategy to the environment in which they live. In the Ngorogoro Crater, there is a very rich and concentrated amount of prey, and there are relatively many great beasts such as wildebeest or zebras. These animals are very much bound to one place and don’t migrate. Here, hyenas live in large clans (between 10-100 members per Clan) and have established hunting territory which they often defend against neighboring clans. The amount of large prey animals makes cooperative hunting more necessary than in the Serengeti, for example, where the clans often aren’t that large and must follow the herds when they migrate. Hyenas following migrating prey are less territorial, and will often hunt small animals individually as well as large ones in packs. An adult hyena is capable of taking down a fully grown wildebeest alone, but hunting in packs is proven to be more effective and fast.

Family Disputes: Hyenas within the same clan rarely fight in a way that can damage them seriously. Most bickering is settled quickly, even by members that have similar ranking in the social hierarchy. Some loud noises and a couple of light bites is usually enough, and if the fight ever gets out of hand, it is quite normal for a hyena of a higher rank to step in and interrupt the fight.

Even hyenas that are strange to each other would rather avoid battle than recklessly try to kill each other. Usually, scent marking territories avoids conflicts: if a lone hyena should enter a hostile territory anyway, it keeps a low profile and stays out in the borders. Female hyenas are treated with more hostility than males, since males from different clans are needed for breeding in the clan. Strangers are rarely accepted in a clan, but if so, they are usually placed at the bottom of the ranking system. If a clan member spots an intruder, it will quickly start scent marking, to make the intruder aware that he is not welcome. Furthermore, the clan member will raise its tail and make a whooping noise to warn the rest of the clan. Typically, the intruder will slink away before any physical contact is made.

 

Clan Warfare: The situation is different, however, when it comes to two clans fighting each other. Hyena clans may try to take over weaker clans' territories, because of lack of prey or peace in their own territory. Human interaction is especially a reason for some clans do this: the more hyena territories shrink in and the wild animals are chased away to protect the livestock of the farmers, the more this tense clan rivalry is sharpened.

Digestive Dynamo: Hyenas have extremely strong jaws and compared to their body size, they are the most powerful of the Animal Kingdom. They also have a very powerful digestive system with highly acidic fluids. This makes them capable of eating and digesting their entire prey - including skin, teeth, horns, hooves and even bones. Since they eat carcasses, their digestion system deals very well with bacteria as well.

The Clan Can: A group of spotted hyenas (called a "clan") can include 5-90 members and is led by a single alpha female called the matriarch. A complicated social hierarchy governs the clan, which cubs often learn before they begin to walk. Females are the dominant members, followed in rank by cubs, while adult males rank lowest. Male hyenas, which are usually smaller and less aggressive than females, often leave the clan when they are about two years old. Females tend to mate with males from other clans, thereby preventing inbreeding.

Unlike many other animals, female hyenas very rarely mate with highly aggressive males. Instead, they select calm, patient and charming mates. Patience is especially important since courtship can last as long as a year.

For this reason, dominant and impatient males have difficulty finding mates. Despite the complicated courtship, the female raises her pups without the male.


Half-man, Half-woman? One unusual feature of the hyena is that females have a pseudo-penis. Female hyenas give birth, copulate, and urinate through their pseudo-penis. Their pseudo-penis actually stretches to allow for the male penis to enter for copulation, so they have total sexual control over who is allowed to mate with them. The pseudo-penis also stretches during birth. Researchers originally thought that one of the things that causes this masculinisation of the genitals is androgens that are expressed to the foetus very early on in its development. But it was discovered that when the androgens are held back from the foetus, you still get masculinization of the genitalia of the females, so scientists still have not worked out what causes the development of the pseudo-penis.


Survivors: In ancient times, large hyenas ranged over much of Europe and Asia, but they are much reduced in range and diversity today. Only four species survive: the spotted, brown, and striped hyenas (which together make up the subfamily Hyaeninae), and the aardwolf, which is the only member of the subfamily Protelinae.

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 

African Hyenas
African Hyenas








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™