The infamous wild animals known as hyenas are Africa’s most common large carnivore. Over the times, hyenas and humans have come into close contact in Africa. In earlier years, they often led to mutual predation in Asia and in Europe. It is believed that, they were even domesticated in ancient Egypt. Although these wild animals are reputed to be cowardly and timid, they can be bold and dangerous sometimes, attacking both animals and humans.
Among these fierce wild animals, female spotted hyenas are dominant over the males. It is fairly difficult to distinguish between the males and females in the field. It is due to their reproductive parts are have a superficial similarity to a certain degree. The common theory regarding this manner is, it may have been necessary for females to appear large and strong to protect their young from males, as hyenas have cannibalistic tendencies.
These wild animals are generally organized into territorial clans of related members. The center of clan activity is the den, where the cubs are raised and members meet. Hyenas mark and patrol their territories by depositing a strong-smelling substance produced by the anal glands on stalks of grass along the boundaries. Hyenas are social wild animals that communicate with one another through specific calls, postures and signals.
Hyenas make a variety of vocalizations, including wailing calls, howling screams and the well-known “laughter” used to alert other clan members up to three miles away of a food source.
These wild animals typically bear litters of two to four cubs that are born with their eyes open. Cubs begin to eat meat from kills close to the den at of five months approximately. However, they are nursed for as long as twelve to eighteen months, an unusual long term for carnivores. This can be in all probability, a necessity, as most kills are a long way from the den. Hyenas, in contrast to jackals and wild dogs, don’t bring back food and regurgitate it for their young. At nearly one year, cubs begin to follow their mothers on their hunting and scavenging forays. Until then, they’re left behind at the den with a babysitting adult.
Hyenas have long conflicted with human populations. African legends and folklore associate these wild animals with black magic and also the supernatural. Like several predators, hyenas become targeted after they take farm animal for prey.