Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

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Spotted hyenas live together in large groups called clans. A clan is made up of up to 80 related individuals with more females than males. There is an established hierarchy between the female members of the clan. The alpha female is usually the oldest and most experienced member of the clan. Her young are born into a high rank and often take over leadership of the clan if the alpha female becomes too old or dies. The highest ranking male is subordinate to the lowest ranking female.  When males reach two and a half years old they leave the clan they were born in and work their way into a new clan. Females usually remain with the same clan for life.
Spotted hyenas have good hearing and sharp eyesight at night, both of which they use to locate prey. Hyenas are thought to be scavengers; however the spotted hyena is also a very good hunter. 
Spotted hyenas also make a wide variety of sounds or vocalizations including whoops, yells and something that sound like a manic cackle. They use these sounds to keep in touch with each other, even when they are moving alone. These vocalizations have led to many people calling them "laughing" hyenas.


Carrion, wildebeest, antelope, birds, lizards, snakes, and insects
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