In the past, we’ve shared some fun facts about the hyena family. Read about them here! Today, we’re going to look closely at the striped hyena. Despite being named Hyaena hyaena, these hyenas are less well-known than the spotted hyena, or “laughing” hyena. Enjoy!
Striped hyenas can be found from Northern Africa to Southern Siberia. They live in dense grassland and mountainous woodlands. In areas where they don’t have to compete against spotted hyenas, they also live in savanna grassland.
Unlike spotted hyenas, striped hyenas are individualistic, at least when they’re looking for food. They aren’t often seen scavenging or gathering in groups but they do exhibit social behavior when in their dens, within small family groups. A group is called a clan or a cackle. They aren’t highly territorial. Moving around often and abandoning their dens means that they don’t get into territorial disputes over their habitat. Sometimes, though, striped hyenas will mark favorite paths or eating sites.
When a striped hyena does need to ward off danger, they raise their mane, which makes them appear substantially larger, and growl or roar. Outside of this display, striped hyenas are pretty quiet. They don’t laugh like spotted hyenas.
Their larger and more aggressive relative, the spotted hyena, is just one of the animals which the striped hyena is wary of. They also stay away from big cats like lions and leopards. However, the striped hyena is not preyed upon by any other carnivore.
They are predominantly scavengers and rely on finding large mammals which have been killed by other predators. To supplement their diet, striped hyenas also hunt small mammals, birds, and reptiles and forage for fruit. Striped hyenas also are assisted by humans. Some towns leave food outside at night for the striped hyenas (they are nocturnal). Nowhere do striped hyenas pose a danger to livestock.
Striped hyenas are monogamous and both parents raise their cubs. The usual litter size is one to four cubs, born in spring or winter. They are born blind, opening their eyes after a week. They are able to eat solid food from a month old. Their parents and, sometimes, older siblings hunt and scavenge for them until the babies learn how to find food on their own, which can take anywhere from another month to almost a year.
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