Physical characteristics and distribution

Body length: 95 – 180 cm
Weight: females: 45 – 70 kg, males: 40 – 60 kg
Life expectancy: up to 20 years
Distribution: East and South Africa
Habitat: savannah, semi-deserts
Species: not endangered


The spotted hyena has a yellow-brownish coat, which is covered with dark spots. The expression of the speckles is age-dependent. Over time, the dots are paler, often they are almost unrecognizable in very old animals. At the head, neck and the tail the coat is particularly long, whereby the tail is rather short in itself. By contrast to the hind legs, the long forelimbs and the large head with the small, round ears, her physique looks sturdy and strong. Especially the front body and especially the jaw is very muscular. The animals have large, hard teeth with which they can easily chop their prey and chew even large bones. Although the appearance of hyenas resembles that of dogs, they are more closely related to the cats. The spotted hyena is the largest and most vigorous species within the hyena family.

Reproduction and development

The young are fully developed at birth and are nursed while standing. At the age of one week, they already accompany the mother in search of food. But you will be nursed for another three months. Then the mother joins with her offspring again to their conspecifics. Warthogs can give birth twice a year. Females become sexually mature at one year, but often mate later. The males (boars) become sexually mature only at the age of two years.

Lifestyle and behavior

Spotted hyenas are pack animals and mainly nocturnal. A pack can consist of 80 or more animals. Together, they live in a territory that is vehemently defended against other packs or carnivores. Within the group there is a strict hierarchy. At the top is a dominant female alpha, to which the highest-ranking male is subordinated. Spotted hyenas can behave very aggressively among themselves, but in case of danger from outside the clan sticks together. In their territory they use caves, bushes and abandoned buildings of other animals as shelter.

Sensory abilities and communication

The spotted hyenas have a very pronounced sound system. Especially well-known is the typical hyena laugh that can often be heard on excitement or after a successful hunt. Another type of communication are different fragrance signals. By secreting a secretion from an anal bag they mark their territory. Depending on the purpose of the marking, the secretion may be whitish or black. The Whitish shows the boundaries of the area and informs enemy intruders about the affiliation of the terrain. The black secretion is often used to indicate food sources for the remaining pack members.


Spotted hyenas are not scavengers, contrary to popular belief. Rather, they are active hunters. In a chase, they can run up to 60 kilometers per hour and keep this speed constant for a long time, until the actually faster prey fatigues. This makes the animal an easy prey for the hyena pack. The prey animal is usually packed on the hind legs. The hyenas do not perform a killing bite; the animal is still gutted alive. The main food consists of zebras, wildebeest and other ungulates. Hyenas leave nothing of their mealtime, they eat bone, head, intestines, fur, even horns and hooves are eaten.

Hunting style, equipment and countries

Spotted hyenas can be hunted in various African countries, especially South Africa. The hunt for the spotted hyena is usually done on fresh cracks by the hyena itself or if this was hunted down by other predators. As a caliber stronger jungle calibers are recommended.

Hunting trip Countries


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