Spotted hyaenas inhabit a wide variety of habitats, including forest, savanna, grassland, and even human habitations.
Spotted hyaenas are present in all habitats including semi-desert, savanna, open woodland, dense dry woodland, acacia bush, and even montane forest habitats, such as in the Aberdares, Mt Kenya, and the Ethiopian Highlands, up to a 4,100 meter altitude. In west Africa, the species prefers the Guinea and Sudan savannas.
It is absent from, or present at very low densities in extreme desert conditions, the highest altitudes on mountains, and tropical rainforests, although they may make deep incursions into forested areas where logging roads provide access. The species becomes increasingly less common in dense forested habitat and is less common than the striped hyaena (Hyaena hyaena) and the brown hyaena (Hyaena brunnea) in desert habitats. They do not inhabit the coastal tropical rainforest of west or central Africa.
In many parts of their range, they occur in close association with human habitations.
• Image | © Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
• Sources | (Bohm & Höner, 2015; East & Hofer, 2013; Henschel & Ray, 2003; Kingdon, 1977; Law, 2005; Mills & Hes, 1997; Nowak, 1999; Young & Evans, 1993)