Forest

Habitats

Forest

  • 1.1. Boreal
  • 1.2. Subarctic
  • 1.3. Subantarctic
  • 1.4. Temperate
  • 1.5. Subtropical/tropical dry
  • 1.6. Subtropical/tropical moist lowland
  • 1.7. Subtropical/tropical mangrove vegetation above high tide level
  • 1.8. Subtropical/tropical swamp
  • 1.9. Subtropical/tropical moist montane

 

Forest Animals

North America

Continents

North America

 

North American Animals

Savanna

Habitats

Savanna

  • 2.1. Dry
  • 2.2. Moist

 

Savanna Animals

Europe

Continents

Europe

 

European Animals

Asia

Continents

Asia

 

Asian Animals

Shrubland

Habitats

Shrubland

  • 3.1. Subarctic
  • 3.2. Subantarctic
  • 3.3. Boreal
  • 3.4. Temperate
  • 3.5. Subtropical/tropical dry
  • 3.6. Subtropical/tropical moist
  • 3.7. Subtropical/tropical high altitude
  • 3.8. Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation

 

Shrubland Animals

Grassland

Habitats

Grassland

  • 4.1. Tundra
  • 4.2. Subarctic
  • 4.3. Subantarctic
  • 4.4. Temperate
  • 4.5. Subtropical/tropical dry
  • 4.6. Subtropical/tropical seasonally wet/flooded
  • 4.7. Subtropical/tropical high altitude

 

Grassland Animals

South America

Continents

South America

 

South American Animals

Wetlands

Habitats

Wetlands (Inland)

  • 5.1. Permanent rivers/streams/creeks (includes waterfalls)
  • 5.2. Seasonal/intermittent/irregular rivers/streams/creeks
  • 5.3. Shrub dominated wetlands
  • 5.4. Bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, peatlands
  • 5.5. Permanent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha)
  • 5.6. Seasonal/intermittent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha)
  • 5.7. Permanent freshwater marshes/pools (under 8 ha)
  • 5.8. Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes/pools (under 8 ha)
  • 5.9. Freshwater springs and oases
  • 5.10. Tundra wetlands (inc. pools and temporary waters from snowmelt)
  • 5.11. Alpine wetlands (inc. temporary waters from snowmelt)
  • 5.12. Geothermal wetlands
  • 5.13. Permanent inland deltas
  • 5.14. Permanent saline, brackish or alkaline lakes
  • 5.15. Seasonal/intermittent saline, brackish or alkaline lakes and flats
  • 5.16. Permanent saline, brackish or alkaline marshes/pools
  • 5.17. Seasonal/intermittent saline, brackish or alkaline marshes/pools
  • 5.18. Karst and other subterranean hydrological systems (inland)

 

Wetland Animals

Africa

Continents

Africa

 

African Animals

Rocky

Habitats

Rocky

  • Inland Cliffs
  • Mountain Peaks

 

Rocky Area Animals

Australia

Continents

Australia

 

Australian Animals

Antarctica

Continents

Antarctica

 

Antarctic Animals

Caves & Subterranean

Habitats

Caves & Subterranean (Non-Aquatic)

  • 7.1. Caves
  • 7.2. Other subterranean habitats

 

Caves & Subterranean Animals

Desert

Habitats

Desert

  • 8.1. Hot
  • 8.2. Temperate
  • 8.3. Cold

 

Desert Animals

Marine Neritic

Habitats

Marine Neritic

  • 9.1. Pelagic
  • 9.2. Subtidal rock and rocky reefs
  • 9.3. Subtidal loose rock/pebble/gravel
  • 9.4. Subtidal sandy
  • 9.5. Subtidal sandy-mud
  • 9.6. Subtidal muddy
  • 9.7. Macroalgal/kelp
  • 9.8. Coral Reef
    • 9.8.1. Outer reef channel
    • 9.8.2. Back slope
    • 9.8.3. Foreslope (outer reef slope)
    • 9.8.4. Lagoon
    • 9.8.5. Inter-reef soft substrate
    • 9.8.6. Inter-reef rubble substrate
  • 9.9 Seagrass (Submerged)
  • 9.10 Estuaries

 

Marine Neritic Animals

Marine Oceanic

Habitats

Marine Oceanic

  • 10.1 Epipelagic (0–200 m)
  • 10.2 Mesopelagic (200–1,000 m)
  • 10.3 Bathypelagic (1,000–4,000 m)
  • 10.4 Abyssopelagic (4,000–6,000 m)

 

Marine Oceanic Animals

Marine Deep Ocean Floor

Habitats

Marine Deep Ocean Floor (Benthic and Demersal)

  • 11.1 Continental Slope/Bathyl Zone (200–4,000 m)
    • 11.1.1 Hard Substrate
    • 11.1.2 Soft Substrate
  • 11.2 Abyssal Plain (4,000–6,000 m)
  • 11.3 Abyssal Mountain/Hills (4,000–6,000 m)
  • 11.4 Hadal/Deep Sea Trench (>6,000 m)
  • 11.5 Seamount
  • 11.6 Deep Sea Vents (Rifts/Seeps)

 

Marine Deep Ocean Floor Animals

Marine Intertidal

Habitats

Marine Intertidal

  • 12.1 Rocky Shoreline
  • 12.2 Sandy Shoreline and/or Beaches, Sand Bars, Spits, etc.
  • 12.3 Shingle and/or Pebble Shoreline and/or Beaches
  • 12.4 Mud Shoreline and Intertidal Mud Flats
  • 12.5 Salt Marshes (Emergent Grasses)
  • 12.6 Tidepools
  • 12.7 Mangrove Submerged Roots

 

Marine Intertidal Animals

Marine Coastal/Supratidal

Habitats

Marine Coastal/Supratidal

  • 13.1 Sea Cliffs and Rocky Offshore Islands
  • 13.2 Coastal Caves/Karst
  • 13.3 Coastal Sand Dunes
  • 13.4 Coastal Brackish/Saline Lagoons/Marine Lakes
  • 13.5 Coastal Freshwater Lakes

 

Marine Coastal/Supratidal Animals

Artificial Terrestrial

Habitats

Artificial – Terrestrial

  • 14.1 Arable Land
  • 14.2 Pastureland
  • 14.3 Plantations
  • 14.4 Rural Gardens
  • 14.5 Urban Areas
  • 14.6 Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest

 

Artificial Terrestrial Animals

Artificial Aquatic

Habitats

Artificial – Aquatic

  • 15.1 Water Storage Areas [over 8 ha]
  • 15.2 Ponds [below 8 ha]
  • 15.3 Aquaculture Ponds
  • 15.4 Salt Exploitation Sites
  • 15.5 Excavations (open)
  • 15.6 Wastewater Treatment Areas
  • 15.7 Irrigated Land [includes irrigation channels]
  • 15.8 Seasonally Flooded Agricultural Land
  • 15.9 Canals and Drainage Channels, Ditches
  • 15.10 Karst and Other Subterranean Hydrological Systems [human-made]
  • 15.11 Marine Anthropogenic Structures
  • 15.12 Mariculture Cages
  • 15.13 Mari/Brackish-culture Pond

 

Artificial Aquatic
Habitats

Introduced Vegetation

 

Introduced Vegetation Animals

Other

Other

 

Other Habitat Animals

Unknown

Unknown

 

Unknown Habitat Animals

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Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

Every 11-21 months, a female spotted hyaena can give birth to 1-4 young through her phallic clitoris, rupturing it open and taking several weeks to heal.

The spotted hyaena’s gestation period is four months. Females usually bear twins although one to four young are possible. Females are capable of producing a litter every 11 to 21 months.

The females give birth through their penis-like clitoris. During birth, the clitoris ruptures to allow the young to pass through. The resulting wound takes several weeks to heal.


Image | © Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Frank, Holekamp, & Smale, 1995; Kingdon, 1977; Kruuk, 1972; Law, 2004; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

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)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaena clans defend their territories with vocal displays and scent marking and use communal latrines to mark territory boundaries.

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.

Spotted hyaena clans defend group territories using vocal displays and scent marking. Scent marks are deposited from a secretion of the anal gland and from a secretion of glands on the feet. 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.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Hofer & East, 1995; Law, 2004)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted hyaenas weigh 45-70 kg. (99-154 lb.) and are sexually dimorphic as females average 6.6 kg heavier than males.

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).


Image | © Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Kingdon, 1977; Law, 2004; Mills & Hes, 1997; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

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

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

Higher ranking females have been shown to associate more with kin than low-ranking females. This behavior is beneficial to related females because they forage together and engage in coalitionary attacks against unrelated females when competing for food at a kill. Thus, females who associate with their female kin are able to gather larger amounts of food more efficiently.

In addition to allowing matrilines to defend their rank, close associations among female kin allow some of these kin groups to displace higher ranking matrilines under certain conditions. Finally, low-ranking females preferentially associate with higher ranking females. It is hypothesized that these low-ranking females receive benefits from high-ranking females through reciprocal cooperation.

Female spotted hyaenas remain in their natal clan for their entire lives and have stable linear dominance hierarchies. In addition, rank is inherited from the mother so these hierarchies remain stable for many generations. Males, however, 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. 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.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (East & Hofer, 2001; Frank, Holekamp, & Smale, 1995; Holekamp, et al., 1997; Kruuk, 1972; Law, 2004)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

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

The jaws are probably the strongest in relation to size of any mammal.

The body length of the spotted hyaena from head to tail is about 95 to 150 centimeters (37-59 inches) and the height at the shoulder is reported from about 75 to 85 centimeters (29-33 inches). The tail is about 30 to 36 centimeters (11-14 inches) long and ends in a bushy black tip. About two-thirds of the tail is composed of bone with the other one-third being solely hair.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Kingdon, 1977; Law, 2004; Mills & Hes, 1997; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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 hyaenas utilize tactile communication between mothers and their young, rival young, and mates, and in a genital investigation greeting.

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.

Females usually do not greet males in this manner, and if they do it is usually only the highest ranking males. Cubs can perform this ritual within the first month of life.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Estes, 1993; Law, 2004)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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.

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


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Kingdon, 1977; Law, 2004; Mills & Hes, 1997; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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.

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.

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. In Nigeria, local people earn money by keeping spotted hyaenas and showing them to spectators on exhibition walks.

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.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Bohm & Höner, 2015; Kruuk, 1972; Law, 2004)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

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

Mating in spotted hyaenas is highly polygynous and aseasonal. The age at sexual maturity is about three years, although some males may be sexually active at two.

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. The dominance of females assures that males are timid and will retreat immediately if the female shows any aggression.

The female’s reproductive tract makes mating somewhat difficult. Male hyaenas approach and slide their haunches under the female to achieve intromission. Once intromission is acheived they move to a more typical mating posture, with the male’s underside resting on the female’s back. The female phallus is completely slack during mating.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Estes, 1993; Frank, Holekamp, & Smale, 1995; Kingdon, 1977; Kruuk, 1972; Law, 2004; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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.

The spotted hyaena uses its keen senses of sight, hearing, and smell to hunt live prey and to detect carrion from afar. Typically, clans split up into hunting groups of two to five individuals, although zebra are hunted in larger groups.

The spotted hyaena is an endurance hunter and can run or lope over great distances in search for prey. They often chase their prey long distances at speeds up to 60 kilometers per hour. A chase in the Kalahari once lasted 24 kilometers before the prey, a common eland (Tragelaphus oryx), was captured.

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.


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; Mills & Hes, 1997; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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.

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.

The clitoris is enlarged, looks like a penis, and is capable of erection. Females also have a pair of sacs in the genital region which are filled with fibrous tissue. These look much like a scrotum, but are covered with more hair than the male’s scrotum. The female has no external vagina and must urinate, mate, and deliver young through the urogenital canal that exits through the pseudo-penis.

High androgen levels were once thought to be a major cause of this masculinazation. One current hypothesis is that sexual mimicry is the driving force behind hyaena masculinization as females that look like males may be protected from aggression from other females.


Image | © Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Kingdon, 1977; Law, 2004; Muller & Wrangham, 2002; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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 hyaenas forms social groups called clans, composed of 3 to 80 members.

Larger clans generally occur in prime territory with large prey concentrations, such as the Ngorongoro crater, whereas smaller clans occur in desert areas in southern Africa.

Although spotted hyaenas live in clans, the members of a clan are only observed all together at kills, when defending the territory, or at a communal den. More often, the clan members forage alone or in small groups.

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.


Image | © Ralf Κλενγελ, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Sources | (East & Hofer, 2001; Frank, Holekamp, & Smale, 1995; Holekamp, et al., 1997; Kingdon, 1977; Kruuk, 1972; Law, 2004; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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.

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.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, All Rights Reserved
Sources | (Estes, 1993; Kingdon, 1977; Law, 2004; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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.

A further threat is posed by the decline in densities of wildlife species consumed by spotted hyaenas due to habitat loss caused by increased human settlement, overgrazing by livestock, and game-meat hunting by humans.

Apparently, only since the mid-1970s has game meat hunting rapidly expanded, as more people have moved within walking distance of the boundaries of protected areas such as in the north and west of the Serengeti.


Image | © Bobby Bradley, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Sources | (Bohm & Hofer, 1998; Höner, 2015)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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 hyaenas have a reputation for being mostly scavengers, but are, in fact, effective and flexible hunters. A study in the Kalahari found that 70% of the diet was composed of direct kills.


Image | © Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Bohm & Hofer, 1998; Di Silvestre, Novelli, Bogliani, 2000; Höner, 2015; Höner, Wachter, Hofer, & East, 2003; Kruuk, 1972; Law, 2004)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

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

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


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Kingdon, 1977; Law, 2004; Mills & Hes, 1997; Nowak, 1999)

 

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Spotted Hyaena

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.

The spotted hyaena has a very course and wooly coat that is sandy, yellowish, or gray in color.

The species is named for the black or dark brown spots that cover most of the body. These spots are darkest in younger animals and can be almost completely absent in very old animals.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Kingdon, 1977; Law, 2004; Mills & Hes, 1997; Nowak, 1999)

 

Learn More About the Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

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

Click on an answer choice to receive instant feedback. Red answers are incorrect, but allow you to continue guessing. Green answers are correct and will provide additional explanatory information. Sometimes more than one answer is correct!

Learn More About the Spotted Hyaena | Play on Quizizz


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!

Learn More About the Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

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.

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. There is a continuing decline in populations outside protected areas (and even within some protected areas) due to persecution and habitat loss, although this is not sufficient to warrant listing in a threatened category.

The spotted hyaena has been categorized as a Lower Risk species by the IUCN Hyaena Specialist Group.

In addition, the 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.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Bohm & Höner, 2015; Law, 2004

 

Learn More About the Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

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.

The spotted hyaena is one of the top predators in Africa, however, lions may kill them.

In one study 13 of 24 hyaena carcasses found were killed by lions (Panthera leo). Spotted hyaenas and lions compete directly for food and often scavenge each other’s kills. This competition often leads to antagonistic encounters that may result in death.

Otherwise, this species is free of predators.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Eltringham, 1979; Kruuk, 1972; Law, 2004)

 

Learn More About the Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena (Crocuta crocuta)

Throughout September 2019, FaunaFocus will feature a misrepresented species, the spotted hyaena!

The spotted hyaena is named for its spotted coat and is known as the laughing hyaena because of its giggling cry. Although thought to be just a scavenger, this African carnivore is an effective endurance hunter. It lives in clans of 3-80 in which females are dominant and masculinated.

 

GET INVOLVED

Create art inspired by the spotted-hyaena and share it in the FaunaFocus Discord Server or on social media with #faunafocus. Learn about more ways to get involved with FaunaFocus!
 

EVENTS
Event Date Time (CDT)
SketchAlong September 13 7:00 pm
Free-For-All: Deadline September 30 12:00 pm
Free-For-All: Livestream October 1 7:00 pm

 


Image | © Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Spotted Hyaena

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.

Until very recently, spotted hyaenas were a common species in most of sub-Saharan Africa. Through the end of the Pleistocene, spotted hyaenas ranged throughout Eurasia. The reasons for the hyaena’s extinction there are not certain.

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.

More continuous distributions persist over large areas of Chad, Central African Republic, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Angola, Namibia, and parts of South Africa. Since 1970, spotted hyaenas have been reported to still be widespread in Djibouti and Gambia. Long-term studies on spotted hyaenas and recent surveys have confirmed their presence in Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, The Republic of Congo, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

In Eritrea, spotted hyaenas have not or only very rarely been sighted until 2007, but they are now regularly sighted throughout the country. It is thus likely that spotted hyaenas established a small population in Eritrea. Spotted hyaenas may occasionally enter Gabon from The Republic of Congo but there is no evidence to suggest that there is a resident population in Gabon.

The species has been reported as extinct in Algeria where they may have occurred in the Ahaggar and Tassili d’Ajjer. There is also no confirmed evidence of
their occurrence in Egypt, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Tunisia, or Morocco, and no recent records from Togo.

Only occasional animals are seen in the forests of Mount Kenya as they have been extirpated from most areas of South Africa.


Image | © Joanne Goldby, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sources | (Bohm & Höner, Grubb, et al., 1998; 2015; East & Hofer, 2010; Henschel, et al., 2014; Hofer & Mills, 1998a; Holekamp & Dloniak, 2010; Höner, et al., 2012; Kingdon, 1977; Law, 2005; Nowak, 1999)

 

Learn More About the Spotted Hyaena

FFA
Judges
Noelle M. Brooks Robin Sarah
Date August 2019 Theme Butterfly Viper
Entries 6 Winner Shadowind

August 2019’s FaunaFocus Free-For-All has ended and 6 artists have taken on the challenge, drawing inspiration from the colorful butterfly viper.

Congratulations to the winner, Shadowind, who depicted a literal representation of the butterfly viper with a winged, colorful snake floating amongst a delicate array of African flowers. The original concept and beautiful, saturated colors enamored the judges!

Shadowind will be selecting October 2019’s FaunaFocus which will be announced at the end of September 2019’s Free-For-All. Last month’s Free-For-All winner, Draws With Kitties has selected to have September 2019’s FaunaFocus randomized, so FaunaFocus will be featuring the spotted hyaena!

 


FaunaFocus Calendar | Free-For-All | Free-For-All Archives

Butterfly Viper

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

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


Image | © Bernard DUPONT, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sources | (Rogers, 2000)

Learn More About the Butterfly Viper

Butterfly Viper

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

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


Image | © Ditmars, Raymond Lee, Public Domain
Sources | (Mallow, Ludwig, & Nilson, 2003; Rogers, 2000; Spawls, Howell, Drewes, & Ashe, 2004; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2018)

Learn More About the Butterfly Viper

Butterfly Viper

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

Butterfly vipers display sexual dimorphism as females are usually the larger of the two monomorphic sexes.

Males, however, have a higher count of paired subcaudals, having 25-30 compared to the 16-19 on a female.


Image | © Greg Hume, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Sources | (Lipsett, 2003; Mallow, Ludwig, & Nilson, 2003; Mehrtens, 1987; Rogers, 2000; Spawls, Howell, Drewes, & Ashe, 2004; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2018)

Learn More About the Butterfly Viper

Butterfly Viper

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

The butterfly viper is often considered one of the most beautiful of all snakes because of its incredible coloration. The color pattern of the butterfly viper consists of a series of 15–18 blue or blue-green, oblong markings, each with a lemon-yellow line down the center. These are enclosed within irregular, black, rhombic blotches. A series of dark crimson triangles run down the flanks, narrowly bordered with green or blue. Many of the lateral scales have white tips, giving the snake a velvety appearance. The top of the head is blue or green, overlaid with a distinct black arrow mark. The belly is dull green to dirty white, strongly marbled, and blotched in black and gray.

After they shed their skins, the bright colors fade quickly as silt from their generally moist habitat accumulates on the rough scales.


Image | © Hectonichus, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Sources | (Lipsett, 2003; Mallow, Ludwig, & Nilson, 2003; Rogers, 2000; Spawls, Howell, Drewes, & Ashe, 2004; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2018)

Learn More About the Butterfly Viper

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.

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. In 2003, a man in Dayton, Ohio, who was keeping a specimen as a pet, was bitten and subsequently died.

Surviving a bite from the butterfly viper can sometimes depend on the location of the bite. Rarely, people will be invenomated right into a vein, shooting up the venom, as opposed to simply getting it into a muscle and slowly having it leak into the body.

At least one antivenom protects specifically against bites from this species: India Antiserum Africa Polyvalent.


Image | © celestialhoney831, (CC BY-ND 3.0)
Sources | (Firehouse, 2003; Mallow, Ludwig, & Nilson, 2003; Spawls, Howell, Drewes, & Ashe, 2004; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2018)

Learn More About the Butterfly Viper

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.

Generally, the butterfly viper is considered somewhat slow in locomotion.

As with other snakes, the butterfly viper uses its scales for movement. Stretching its skin across its ribs, then releasing tension, gives the butterfly viper the ability to slither across the jungle floor quite efficiently.


Image | © Tayler, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 4.0)
Sources | (Lipsett, 2003; Rogers, 2000; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2018)

Learn More About the Butterfly Viper

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

Butterfly vipers are bred domestically and sold online in the exotic pet trade. Although most people would never see the butterfly viper in the wild, there are many who breed this extremely dangerous animal domestically.

Butterfly vipers can be purchased online. Listings have been found for baby vipers for $75.00 plus shipping and $125.00 for adult snakes.


Image | © Josh More, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Firehouse, 2003; Lipsett, 2003)

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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.

The butterfly viper’s closest relative is the rhinoceros viper (Bitis rhinoceros).

The butterfly viper has a brighter color pattern and a narrower head than the rhinoceros viper. The rhinoceros viper is also missing the distinct, black arrow mark on the butterfly viper’s head, and instead has a single dark stripe running down the back of its head.


Image | © Bernard DUPONT, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Sources | (Spawls, Howell, Drewes, & Ashe, 2004; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2018, 2019)

Learn More About the Butterfly Viper

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.

The butterfly viper inhabits tropical forests, often near water, or some sort of swampy environment. Because of this habitat preference it is often called the River Jack.


Image | © Frank Wouters, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Sources | (Lipsett, 2003; Rogers, 2000; Spawls, Howell, Drewes, & Ashe, 2004; The Wikimedia Foundation, 2018)

Learn More About the Butterfly Viper