The spotted hyaena is well known for its variety of vocal communication and is known as the “laughing hyaena” because its trademark giggling call associated with fear or excitement.
The spotted hyaena is well known for the wide variety of vocal communication used.
Groans and soft squeals are emitted during hyaena greetings. A whoop is used as a contact call in addition to a fast whoop which is used by excited hyaenas at a kill. Males give the fast whoop more often than females but are generally ignored. Female calls generally elicit much more of a reaction. Finally, a lowing call is used by impatient hyaenas who are kept waiting at a kill.
Spotted hyaenas also give several calls related to aggression. These include grunting, giggling, growling, yelling, and a rattling growl. These calls are given in various aggressive interactions with clan members, other clans, or other species.
The giggling is the trademark laughing call of the hyaena. It 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.