Spotted Hyaena Trivia

Spotted Hyaena

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What threatens the spotted hyaena?
Decline in Prey
Spotted hyaenas are threatened by a decline in their prey densities due to habitat loss caused by increased human settlement, overgrazing by livestock, and game-meat hunting by humans.
Habitat Loss
Spotted hyaenas are threatened by a decline in their prey densities due to habitat loss caused by increased human settlement, overgrazing by livestock, and game-meat hunting by humans.
Overgrazing
Spotted hyaenas are threatened by a decline in their prey densities due to habitat loss caused by increased human settlement, overgrazing by livestock, and game-meat hunting by humans.
Hunting
Spotted hyaenas are threatened by a decline in their prey densities due to habitat loss caused by increased human settlement, overgrazing by livestock, and game-meat hunting by humans.

What is a group of spotted hyaenas called?
Cackle
Spotted hyaenas form social groups called clans or cackles.
Clan
Spotted hyaenas form social groups called clans or cackles.
Pack
Pride

What is the spotted hyaena’s diet?
Carnivorous
The spotted hyaena is a large, common carnivore.
Herbivorous
Omnivorous
Unknown

How many young does a spotted hyaena usually bear?
2
Females usually bear twins although one to four young are possible.
1
4
8

What habitats do spotted hyaena’s inhabit?
Forest
Spotted hyaenas inhabit a wide variety of habitats, including forest, savanna, grassland, and even human habitations.
Savanna
Spotted hyaenas inhabit a wide variety of habitats, including forest, savanna, grassland, and even human habitations.
Grassland
Spotted hyaenas inhabit a wide variety of habitats, including forest, savanna, grassland, and even human habitations.
Shrubland

What is the parental investment of the spotted hyaena?
Maternal
The spotted hyaena has the highest parental investment of any carnivore for several reasons, however males have not been reported to have a role in parental care.
Paternal
Both Maternal & Paternal
None

Spotted hyaena clans take part in communal care of the young.
False
Communal denning seems to be an important part of spotted hyaena social behavior, but no communal care of young takes place. One exception to this has been observed in the Kalahari during a particularly difficult period.
True

The genitalia of male and female spotted hyaenas are almost indistinguishable.
True
Female spotted hyaenas are extremely masculinated and the genitalia of females are almost indistinguishable from those of males. Thus, males and females look extremely similar.
False

Spotted hyaenas are born with their eyes open.
True
Newborn spotted hyaenas weigh from 1 to 1.6 kilograms and are quite precocious, being born with their eyes open.
False

How many hunting trips will a spotted hyaena take each year?
50
A lactating female can make 40 to 50 trips per year for a total of 2,800 to 3,600 kilometers per year.
10
100
250

Spotted hyaenas are solitary.
False
Spotted hyaenas are social and form social groups.
True

What makes up 80% of the spotted hyaena’s diet?
Ungulates
Fecal analysis in the Serengeti and Ngongoro crater, Tanzania revealed that about 80% of the samples contained wildebeest, zebra, and various gazelle specie
Hares
Birds
Small Canines

What is the spotted hyaena’s greatest natural enemy?
Lion
The lion is the spotted hyaena’s greatest natural enemy as they compete directly for food, scavenge each other’s kills, and have antagonistic encounters that may result in death.
African Wild Dog
Black-Backed Jackal
Golden Jackal

What characteristic originated the spotted hyaena’s nickname laughing hyaena?
Giggling Call
The giggling is the trademark laughing call of the hyaena. Is associated with fear or excitement and is often given when an individual is being chased. Because of this cackling sound, the species is sometimes referred to as the laughing hyaena.
Mouth Gaping Threat Display
Tickling Social Greeting

What is the total global population of spotted hyaenas?
27,000-47,000
Viable populations of spotted hyaena exist in a number of countries and a tentative estimate of the total global population is between 27,000 and 47,000.
12,000-17,000
74,000-120,000
127,000-147,000

All hyaenas, including the spotted hyaena, have rounded ears.
False
Unlike other hyaenas, the spotted hyaena has rounded ears.
True

Spotted hyaena is a common predator on domestic livestock.
True
The spotted hyaena is a common predator on domestic livestock in Africa. Damage to domestic stock mainly involves cattle, sheep, and goats and varies widely in intensity.
False

Spotted hyaena clans are matrilinear and females are usually dominant over males.
True
Spotted hyaena clans are matrilinear and females are usually dominant over males.
False

Spotted hyaenas are decimated by authorities to protect which species?
Lions
Spotted hyaena populations in protected areas may also be decimated by authorities when they are considered a threat for other wildlife species such as lions (Panthera leo), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and rhinos.
Cheetahs
Spotted hyaena populations in protected areas may also be decimated by authorities when they are considered a threat for other wildlife species such as lions (Panthera leo), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and rhinos.
Rhinos
Spotted hyaena populations in protected areas may also be decimated by authorities when they are considered a threat for other wildlife species such as lions (Panthera leo), cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus), and rhinos.
Elephants

Spotted hyaena are fully protected in some regions.
True
Legal classification of the spotted hyaena varies. They are fully-protected in conservation areas such as in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.
False

Why do humans kill spotted hyaenas?
Food
Spotted hyaenas are killed for sport, food, medicine, and witchcraft.
Sport
Spotted hyaenas are killed for sport, food, medicine, and witchcraft.
Medicine
Spotted hyaenas are killed for sport, food, medicine, and witchcraft.
Witchcraft
Spotted hyaenas are killed for sport, food, medicine, and witchcraft.

The spotted hyaena is a valuable resource for tourism.
True
Because the spotted hyaena is a large, common carnivore in many parts of Africa, it is a valuable resource for safari companies and is considered an important part of the tourist industry. In at least two locations in Ethiopia, live, wild spotted hyaenas are utilized by locals for tourism. In Nigeria, local people earn money by keeping spotted hyaenas and showing them to spectators on exhibition walks.
False

Spotted hyaenas have the strongest jaws in relation to its body size of any mammal.
True
The jaws are probably the strongest in relation to size of any mammal.
False

How large are spotted hyaena territories?
40-1,000 km2 / 25-621 m.
Spotted hyaena territory size is extremely variable ranging from as small as 40 square kilometeres in the Ngorongoro crater to 1000 square kilometers in the Kalahari.
10-40 km2 / 6-25 m.
100-400 km2 / 62-249 m.
1,000-4,000 km2 / 621-2,485 m.

How many adult spotted hyaenas deaths are caused by wire snares?
50%
Mortality due to wire snares set to catch wild herbivores for meat is an important cause of adult hyaena mortality in the Serengeti, where snares are responsible for more than half of all adult mortality.
25%
75%
90%

What is the spotted hyaena mating system?
Polygynous
Mating in spotted hyaenas is highly polygynous and aseasonal.
Polyandrous
Polygynandrous
Monogamous

What benefits do breeding alpha female spotted hyaenas experience?
Younger Sexual Maturity
Although all females produce litters, alpha females have a younger age at first breeding, shorter interbirth intervals, and increased survival of offspring.
Shorter Interbirth Intervals
Although all females produce litters, alpha females have a younger age at first breeding, shorter interbirth intervals, and increased survival of offspring.
Increased Offspring Survival
Although all females produce litters, alpha females have a younger age at first breeding, shorter interbirth intervals, and increased survival of offspring.
Higher Milk Protein Percentage

What kind of coat does a spotted hyaena have?
Course & Wooly
The spotted hyaena has a very course and wooly coat that is sandy, yellowish, or gray in color.
Smooth & Silky
Full & Fluffy

What kind of predator is a spotted hyaena?
Endurance Hunter
The spotted hyaena is an endurance hunter and can run or lope over great distances in search for prey. A chase in the Kalahari once lasted 24 kilometers before the prey, a common eland (Tragelaphus oryx), was captured.
Ambush Predator

What is the spotted hyaena’s status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species?
Least Concern
The spotted hyaena is listed as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species as the species remains widespread in Africa, and the total world population well exceeds 10,000 mature individuals.
Near Threatened
Vulnerable
Endangered

To what continent are spotted hyaenas endemic?
Africa
Today, spotted hyaenas are endemic to sub-Saharan Africa, south of the Sahara, and are relatively widely distributed. Their current distribution is patchy, especially in West and Central Africa, with populations often concentrated in protected areas. High densities occur in the Serengeti and especially the Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania.
Asia
Australia
Europe

What is the population trend of the spotted hyaena?
Decreasing
The spotted hyaena’s population trend is listed as “Decreasing” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Increasing
Stable
Unknown

How much of a spotted hyaena’s diet is scavenged?
30%
A study in the Kalahari found that 70% of the diet was composed of direct kills.
15%
70%
100%

Spotted hyaena milk has the highest energy content of any carnivore.
False
Spotted hyaena milk has extremely high energy content as the mean protein content is 14.9%, and the mean fat content is 14.1%. This is only exceeded by some bears and sea otters (Enhydra lutris).
True

How old are spotted hyaena cubs when they begin weaning?
12-18 Months
Cubs are not weaned until they are between 12 and 18 months of age, which is extremely late.
2-8 Weeks
2-8 Months
22-28 Months

The spotted hyaena has the highest parental investment of any carnivore.
True
The spotted hyaena has the highest parental investment of any carnivore.
False

Spotted hyaenas display sexual dimorphism in body weight.
True, females are heavier.
The spotted hyaena is sexually dimorphic with females weighing around 6.6 kilograms more than males. Male weight ranges from about 45 to 60 kilograms (154-132 pounds) whereas females weigh 55 to over 70 kilograms (121-154 pounds).
True, males are heavier.
False.

For what does the female spotted hyaena use her pseudo-penis?
Urination
The female has no external vagina and must urinate, mate, and deliver young through the urogenital canal that exits through the pseudo-penis.
Birth
The female has no external vagina and must urinate, mate, and deliver young through the urogenital canal that exits through the pseudo-penis.
Mating
The female has no external vagina and must urinate, mate, and deliver young through the urogenital canal that exits through the pseudo-penis.
Defecation

Spotted hyaenas often kill their siblings in order to receive more food and mature faster.
True
If siblings are the same sex, they begin fighting violently soon after birth, which usually results in the death of one of the two. Since single young receive more food and mature faster, this behavior is probably adaptive.
False

On average, how far will spotted hyaenas travel on hunting trips?
80 km. / 50 m.
The average round trip for these expeditions is about 80 kilometers.
8 km. / 5 m.
40 km. / 25 m.
127 km. / 80 m.

Spotted hyaenas may not drink for long periods.
True
Although long periods may elapse between drinking, spotted hyaenas are at least somewhat dependent on water. Spotted hyaena clans have been known to disperse after the only water source in their range dried up.
False

Spotted hyaena groups can have up to how many members?
80
Spotted hyaenas form social groups composed of 3 to 80 members.
3
18
130

The spotted hyaena is one of its region’s top predators.
True
The spotted hyaena is one of the top predators in its region.
False

Male spotted hyaena calls elicit much more of a reaction than the calls of females.
False
Males are generally ignored. Female calls generally elicit much more of a reaction.
True

The spotted hyaena is the most numerous large predator in its region.
True
The spotted hyaena is the most numerous large predator in the Serengeti.
False

How does a male spotted hyaena gain his rank?
Develops Relationships with Higher-Ranking Females
Once a male joins another clan, he enters a dominance queue that the other males respect. As more males enter the queue and older males die, the male will move up through the social rank. Males spend a long time developing relationships with females in the clan. They follow females for periods of days or weeks and eventually gain favor with the females through this behavior.
Inherits from Father
Develops Relationships with Higher-Ranking Males
Inherits from Mother

The spotted hyaena has been known to attack and kill humans.
True
The spotted hyaena has been known to attack and kill humans, especially during human disease outbreaks.
False

How do females fit in to the spotted hyaena social system?
Remain in their Natal Groups
Female spotted hyaenas remain in their natal clan for their entire lives and have stable linear dominance hierarchies.
Join Existing Groups
Form New Groups

Spotted hyaenas have retractable claws.
False
The spotted hyaena has short, non-retractable claws and broad toe pads.
True

Spotted hyaena are considered vermin.
True
Legal classification of the spotted hyaena varies. They are considered “vermin” in parts of Ethiopia.
False

How do humans kill spotted hyaenas?
Culling
Populations of spotted hyaenas are subject to persecution by humans in numerous ways including culling, trapping, and poisoning. Entire clans of spotted hyaenas may be killed by poisoning, and many individuals are killed when hit by vehicles, or by shooting and spearing. Such activities may sometimes occur within the boundaries of conservation areas, but are especially prevalent outside of protected areas.
Trapping
Populations of spotted hyaenas are subject to persecution by humans in numerous ways including culling, trapping, and poisoning. Entire clans of spotted hyaenas may be killed by poisoning, and many individuals are killed when hit by vehicles, or by shooting and spearing. Such activities may sometimes occur within the boundaries of conservation areas, but are especially prevalent outside of protected areas.
Vehicular Collisions
Populations of spotted hyaenas are subject to persecution by humans in numerous ways including culling, trapping, and poisoning. Entire clans of spotted hyaenas may be killed by poisoning, and many individuals are killed when hit by vehicles, or by shooting and spearing. Such activities may sometimes occur within the boundaries of conservation areas, but are especially prevalent outside of protected areas.
Poisoning
Populations of spotted hyaenas are subject to persecution by humans in numerous ways including culling, trapping, and poisoning. Entire clans of spotted hyaenas may be killed by poisoning, and many individuals are killed when hit by vehicles, or by shooting and spearing. Such activities may sometimes occur within the boundaries of conservation areas, but are especially prevalent outside of protected areas.

What parts of a spotted hyaena are used for talismans and witchcraft?
Hair
Hair and scraps of skin are often collected from dead animals and are used as talismans. In several areas in Tanzania, spotted hyaenas and their body parts are utilized for witchcraft.
Skin
Hair and scraps of skin are often collected from dead animals and are used as talismans. In several areas in Tanzania, spotted hyaenas and their body parts are utilized for witchcraft.
Body Parts
Hair and scraps of skin are often collected from dead animals and are used as talismans. In several areas in Tanzania, spotted hyaenas and their body parts are utilized for witchcraft.
Teeth

How much of a spotted hyaena’s tail is comprised of bone?
2/3
About two-thirds of the tail is composed of bone with the other one-third being solely hair.
1/2
3/4
Full Length

How do spotted hyaenas defend their territories?
Vocal Displays
Spotted hyaena clans defend group territories using vocal displays and scent marking. In addition, spotted hyaenas use communal latrines which also serve to mark territory boundaries. Chemical communication occurs because of the use of common latrine areas, as well as in scent marking.
Scent Marking
Spotted hyaena clans defend group territories using vocal displays and scent marking. In addition, spotted hyaenas use communal latrines which also serve to mark territory boundaries. Chemical communication occurs because of the use of common latrine areas, as well as in scent marking.
Communal Latrines
Spotted hyaena clans defend group territories using vocal displays and scent marking. In addition, spotted hyaenas use communal latrines which also serve to mark territory boundaries. Chemical communication occurs because of the use of common latrine areas, as well as in scent marking.
Assigned Look-Outs

How do spotted hyaenas greet one another?
Phallic Inspection
Spotted hyaenas perform a phallic inspection as a greeting. Two individuals stand head to tail, lift the rear leg closest to the other and then sniff and touch each other’s extended phallus for up to 30 seconds.
Giggling Call
Tickling Interaction
Bowing Display

Male spotted hyaenas are timid around females and will retreat immediately if the female shows any aggression.
True
The dominance of females assures that males are timid and will retreat immediately if the female shows any aggression.
False

What social interaction do spotted hyaena males perform before mating?
Bowing Display
Males perform a bowing display to females before mating. The male lowers his muzzle to the ground, advances quickly toward the female, bows again, and then paws the ground close behind the female.
Phallic Inspection
Tickling Interaction
Giggling Call

High-ranking spotted hyaenas preferentially give birth to females.
False
High-ranking female hyaenas seem to preferentially give birth to sons.
True

The front legs of a spotted hyaena are longer than the hind legs, which gives the back a slightly odd, downward slope.
True
The spotted hyaena is strongly built with a massive neck and large head. The front legs are longer than the hind legs, which gives the back of the hyaena a slightly odd, downward slope. The hyaena’s relatively short hind legs and long neck are perfect adaptations to the loping locomotion because they minimize its energetic costs. Its long, muscular neck further enables it to carry heavy prey away from other hyaenas and lions (Panthera leo), or to bring food to their cubs at the communal den.
False

How many members make up a spotted hyaena hunting group?
2-5
Typically, clans split up into hunting groups of two to five individuals, although zebra are hunted in larger groups.
1-3
5-10
10-30

There is currently a spotted hyaena conservation program preventing the species from being endangered.
True
The IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group has identified this species as “conservation dependent”. This means that there is currently a conservation program aimed at this species, but without this program the species would most likely be eligible for threatened status within 5 years.
False

How fast can a spotted hyaena run?
60 kph / 37 mph
Spotted hyaenas often chase their prey long distances at speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour.
6 kph / 4 mph
16 kph / 10 mph
36 kph / 22 mph

Spotted hyaena mothers are very protective of their young.
True
Spotted hyaena females are very protective of their young and do not tolerate other hyaenas around them at first.
False

By the weaning age, juvenile spotted hyaenas already have adult teeth.
True
By the weaning age, juvenile hyaenas already have completely erupted adult teeth, which is also very rare.
False

How long is a spotted hyaena’s gestation?
4 Months
The spotted hyaena’s gestation period is four months.
1 Month
6 Months
9 Months

Spotted hyaena dens are often abandoned dens from which animals?
Aardvark
Two to six weeks after birth, the mother transports young from the burrow in which they were born, often an abandoned aardvark (Orycteropus afer), warthog, or bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) burrow, to a communal den.
Warthog
Two to six weeks after birth, the mother transports young from the burrow in which they were born, often an abandoned aardvark (Orycteropus afer), warthog, or bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) burrow, to a communal den.
Bat-Eared Fox
Two to six weeks after birth, the mother transports young from the burrow in which they were born, often an abandoned aardvark (Orycteropus afer), warthog, or bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis) burrow, to a communal den.
Pangolin

What color are newborn spotted hyaenas?
Black
Newborns are almost entirely black.
Brown
White
Orange

Female spotted hyaenas give a fast whooping call more often than males.
False
Males give the fast whoop more often than females.
True

How does a female spotted hyaena gain her rank?
Inherits from Mother
Rank is inherited from the mother so these hierarchies remain stable for many generations.
Inherits from Father
Develops Relationships with Higher-Ranking Males
Develops Relationships with Higher-Ranking Females

How often can a spotted hyaena give birth?
1-2 Years
Females are capable of producing a litter every 11 to 21 months.
6-8 Months
8-10 Months
2-3 Years

Spotted hyaenas utilize almost every part of their prey except what?
Horns
Spotted hyaenas are an extremely important component of the ecosystem and utilize almost every part of their prey except for horns and rumen.
Rumen
Spotted hyaenas are an extremely important component of the Serengeti ecosystem of Africa and utilize almost every part of their prey except for horns and rumen.
Bones
Fur

How do males fit in the spotted hyaena social system?
Join Existing Groups
Males disperse upon reaching sexual maturity. Juvenile males emigrate after puberty and join new clans where their position in the dominance hierarchy may increase over time.
Remain in their Natal Groups
Form New Groups

How many toes does a spotted hyaena have on each foot?
4
Unlike the aardwolf (Proteles cristata) which has five toes, the spotted hyaena has four digits on each foot.
3
5
6

Even in protected areas, spotted hyaenas can be legally killed if they’ve been suspected to have killed livestock.
True
In some protected areas, spotted hyaenas may be legally killed by resident humans when they have preyed upon livestock. Government officials and managers allow local human residents within protected areas to kill spotted hyaenas when they are suspected or known to have preyed upon livestock.
False

Spotted hyaenas are in high demand from trophy hunters.
False
The species is sport hunted in several places in Africa, though the hyaenas are not much in demand from trophy hunters because they are not viewed as attractive. Because they aren’t considered an attractive species, the numbers killed by licensed sport hunters are probably small.
True

What are some beliefs related to feeding spotted hyaenas by hand?
Relinquish Bad Spirits
Tourists pay to feed the hyaenas by hand, and some believe that the hyaenas take away bad spirits and that feeding them will cure various ailments.
Cure Ailments
Tourists pay to feed the hyaenas by hand, and some believe that the hyaenas take away bad spirits and that feeding them will cure various ailments.
Improve Physical Strength
Bring Joy & Laughter

What color is the tip of a spotted hyaena’s tail?
Black
The tail is about 30 to 36 centimeters (11-14 inches) long and ends in a bushy black tip.
White
Orange
Brown

Where do spotted hyaenas have scent glands?
Feet
Scent marks are deposited from a secretion of the anal gland and from a secretion of glands on the feet.
Anus
Scent marks are deposited from a secretion of the anal gland and from a secretion of glands on the feet.
Cheeks
Forehead

How many spotted hyaenas are killed each year by wire snares?
400
Mortality due to wire snares set to catch wild herbivores for meat is an important cause of adult hyaena mortality in the Serengeti, where snares kill around 400 adult spotted hyaenas each year.
4
40
4,000

When do spotted hyaenas sexually mature?
2-3 Years
The age at sexual maturity is about three years, although some males may be sexually active at two.
2-5 Months
1-2 Years
3-5 Years

The spots in spotted hyaenas darken with age.
False
The spots are darkest in younger animals and can be almost completely absent in very old animals.
True

How much did you know about the spotted hyaena? Share your results in the comments!

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