FaunaFocus
Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaena clans are matrilinear and females are usually dominant over males, inheriting their ranks from their mothers.

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaenas have the strongest jaws in relation to its body size of any mammal.

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaenas perform a phallic inspection as a greeting, where two individuals stand head to tail, lift their rear legs, and sniff each other's extended phallus for up to 30 seconds.

Spotted Hyaena

Unlike the aardwolf which has five toes, the spotted hyaena has four digits on each foot with short, non-retractable claws and broad toe pads.

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaenas are exploited for tourism, being fed by hand, shown on exhibition walks, or having their hair and skin collected for talismans or witchcraft.

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaena mating is highly polygnous and aseasonal and can be difficult because of the female's reproductive tract.

Spotted Hyaena

The spotted hyaena is an endurance hunter and has adapted longer front legs than hind legs and a long, muscular neck in order to carry prey great distances while conserving energy.

Spotted Hyaena

Female spotted hyaenas are extremely masculinated and have genitalia that is almost indistinguishable from those of males, through which they must urinate, mate, and deliver young.

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaenas are social and form groups called clans, composed of 3-80 members, and larger clans claim prime territory with large prey concentrations.

Spotted Hyaena

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.

Spotted Hyaena

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.

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaenas have a reputation for being mostly scavengers, but are, in fact, effective and flexible hunters and hunt for 70% of their food.

Spotted Hyaena

The spotted hyaena is strongly built with a massive neck and large head and, unlike other hyaenas, has rounded ears.

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaenas are named for the dark spots that cover their course and wooly sandy-gray coats that are darkest in young animals and almost absent in old individuals.

Spotted Hyaena

Do you think you know the spotted hyaena? Test your knowledge of spotted hyaena FaunaFacts with this trivia quiz!

Spotted Hyaena

The spotted hyaena is listed as "Least Concern" on the IUCN Red List as the species remains widespread and the total world population well exceeds 10,000 mature individuals.

Spotted Hyaena

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.

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaenas were once a common species in most of sub-Saharan Africa, but now have a patchy distribution south of the Sahara.

Butterfly Viper

The average lifespan of the butterfly viper in captivity is 8.3 years.

Butterfly Viper

Butterfly vipers are sometimes found in shallow pools and have been described as powerful swimmers.

Butterfly Viper

Butterfly vipers display sexual dimorphism as females are larger and males have more subcaudal scales.

Butterfly Viper

After the butterfly viper sheds its skin, the bright colors fade quickly as silt from their moist habitat accumulates on the scales.

Butterfly Viper

Because of the butterfly viper's restricted geographic range, few bites have been reported and no statistics are available, but at least one death has occurred.

Butterfly Viper

The butterfly viper is a slow-moving snake that uses its scales for movement, stretching its skin across its ribs and releasing the tension to slither, like other snakes.

Butterfly vipers are bred domestically and sold online in the exotic pet trade.

Butterfly Viper

The butterfly viper's closest relative is the rhinoceros viper (Bitis rhinoceros), which has a duller color pattern, wider head, and lacks the distinct, black arrow mark on the head.

Butterfly Viper

The butterfly viper is known as the "River Jack" because of its moist habitat preference and often lives near water or in a swampy environment.

Butterfly Viper

The butterfly viper's scales are so rough and heavily keeled that they can inflict cuts when being handled.

The butterfly viper has hollow fangs that deliver venom deep into the snake's victims but are folded into the roof of the mouth when not in use and shed every 6-10...

Primarily nocturnal, the butterfly viper hides during the day in leaf litter and holes or around fallen trees and tangled roots of forest trees.

Butterfly Viper

The butterfly viper is viviparous, giving live birth to 6-38 offspring at the start of the rainy season in March and April.

Butterfly Viper

When approached, butterfly vipers often reveal their presence by hissing, said to be the loudest hiss of any African snake—almost a shriek.

Although terrestrial, the butterfly viper uses its partially prehensile tail to climb into trees and thickets in search of food and has been found up to 3 m. above ground.