Spotted hyaenas are an extremely important component of the ecosystem, utilizing almost every part of their varied prey except for horns and rumen, and scavenging often.
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, and scavenge often.
In the Serengeti and Ngongoro crater, Tanzania, the spotted hyaena was observed eating a wide variety of items including wildebeest, zebra, Thomson’s gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii), Grant’s gazelle (Nanger granti), topi (Damaliscus lunatus), hartebeest (Alcelaphus buselaphus), waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), common eland (Tragelaphus oryx), African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), impala (Aepyceros melampus), warthog, hare, springhare, ostrich eggs, bat-eared fox (Otocyon megalotis), golden jackal (Canis aureus), porcupine, puff adder (Bitis arietans), domestic animals, lion (Panthera leo), other hyaenas, termites, and afterbirth.
Fecal analysis in these same two areas revealed that about 80% of the samples contained wildebeest, zebra, and various gazelle species.
In a study in Senegal, hyaenas were found to prey on large herbivores such as buffalo, hartebeest, kob, warthog, bushbuck. In addition, the spotted hyaena has been known to prey on the young of giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibious), and rhinoceros.
The spotted hyaena is also a common predator on domestic livestock in Africa. Damage to domestic stock mainly involves cattle, sheep, and goats and varies widely in intensity.
In addition, the spotted hyaena has also been known to attack and kill humans, especially during human disease outbreaks.
• Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
• Sources | (Bohm & Hofer, 1998; Di Silvestre, Novelli, Bogliani, 2000; Höner, 2015; Höner, Wachter, Hofer, & East, 2003; Kingdon, 1977; Kruuk, 1972; Law, 2004; Nowak, 1999)