Hyaena – Brown & striped hyena

A group of hyenas might easily steal a lion’s thunder giving it a cutthroat competition

These ferocious animals are known for their violent behavior backed up by solid muscles and teeth. You might spot a messy den with bones everywhere if you decide to pay a visit.

The brown hyena (Hyaena brunnea) and the striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena) are two fascinating species within the genus Hyaena, each with distinct adaptations and behaviors that set them apart in the carnivore community. Both species boast robust physiques supported by solid muscles, essential for survival in their competitive environments. The brown hyena is distinguished by its long, shaggy, dark brown fur, which lacks the spots found in its cousin, the spotted hyena. Conversely, the striped hyena features a shorter coat with distinct vertical stripes over a lighter background, aiding camouflage in its arid surroundings.

A unique aspect of their appearance is the noticeable disproportion between their front and back limbs, resulting in a sloped back that gives the illusion of an animal perpetually moving uphill. This adaptation, coupled with their large heads and powerful forequarters, equips them superbly for digging and foraging.

Brown and striped hyenas are primarily nocturnal, emerging from their dens at dusk to forage throughout the night. Their dens, often a chaotic assembly of bones and other remnants of meals past, serve as the nucleus for their social and reproductive lives. While both species are known to scavenge, they are also proficient hunters, capable of taking down prey or finding food sources that other predators may overlook.

The brown hyena is predominantly found in the southern regions of Africa and is known for its remarkable ability to cover vast distances in search of food. Its diet is incredibly varied, including carrion, fruits, insects, and small animals, making it a crucial component of the ecosystem for controlling disease and facilitating nutrient cycling.

The striped hyena inhabits a broader range that stretches from North Africa through the Middle East to India. It is more solitary than the brown hyena, with a diet that similarly includes a mix of animal remains, fruits, insects, and occasionally small mammals.