Hyena Facts

by TerriRexson

The hyena is a fascinating animal. It's not a dog as many think. Learn lots of interesting hyena facts.

About Hyenas

The hyena is one of my older son's favorite animals. He loves carnivores and he is fascinated by Africa. So his toy hyena ranks highly in his pack of animals!

His love of hyenas and African Hunting dogs took us to a zoo in another town where we could visit Spotted and Striped Hyenas. Unfortunately the Hyenas didn't come out much while we were there. But we've been learning all about them and will share lots of information about hyenas on this page. Hopefully we'll get to go back and visit the Hyenas soon. 

Facts about Hyenas

Some of our favorite hyena facts:

  1. Hyenas are not dogs. They do share a lot of features with dogs, but in evolutionary terms they are actually closer to cats. 
  2. The Spotted Hyena is the best known and most common species of Hyena. 
  3. Spotted Hyenas live in Africa including South Africa. 
  4. The Hyena features prominently in African mythology and not always in a good way. The Hyena is children's TV show Tinga Tinga tales is often naughty!
  5. Hyenas have a reputation as scavengers, feeding off the remains of other animals kills. While this does happen, Hyenas do kill their own prey. Spotted hyenas are particularly good hunters. 

The Laughing Hyena

The Spotted Hyena is also known as the Laughing Hyena.

The sound that humans identify as sounding like laughter or giggling is nothing to do with Hyenas finding things funny. It's actually an agressive sound. Hyenas laughing is a sign of aggression. It's often heard in when a pack of hyenas is trying to get a good position at a carcass. 

Laughing Hyenas

Best Hyena Book

Our favorite Hyena story book in the Hungry Hyena by Mwenye Hadithi and Adrienne Kennaway. The African Tales Book Series is brilliant. The books really evoke the feeling of Africa and its mythology and climate. 

In Hungry Hyena, hyena steals Fish Eagle's catch. He learns his lesson though and that is why he now slinks about the African plains, unable to run like the wind. This take on a traditional African folk story is a wonderful way for kids to learn more about African animals like the Hyena and the culture of the land they come from. 

Hungry Hyena

Hungry Hyena (African Animal Tales)
Hodder & Stoughton
$10.11  $4.33

The Striped Hyena

The striped hyena is less well-known than his spotted relative. The striped Hyena is native to North and East Africa. 

We managed to take a photo of a striped hyena sleeping in the sun. Hopefully we'll see a bit more next time we visit. 

Striped Hyena Photo

Sleeping in the Sun
Striped Hyena Photo
Striped Hyena Photo
Author's Own Photo

Striped Hyena on Wikipedia

The Striped Hyena is a species of true hyena native to North and East Africa, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Middle, Central and Southern Asia. It is listed by the IUCN as Near Threatened, as the global population is estimated to be ...

Let's Look at some Hyenas

Before we finish, let's look at some pictures of gorgeous Hyenas in their native Africa. 

Hyena Pictures

Photos of Hyenas in Africa
Hyena pup
Hyena pup
Hyena pup
Hyena pup
Spotted Hyena
Spotted Hyena
Hyena pup
Hyena pup

Hyena on Wikipedia

If you want to know more
Hyenas are the animals of the family Hyaenidae, a feliform suborder of the Carnivora. It is the fourth smallest biological family in the Carnivora, and one of the smallest in the mammalia. Despite their low diversity, hyenas are unique ...

More African Animals

The Aye Aye is an animal native to the African island of Madagascar. The Aye Aye is a species of lemur. Find out all out this unusual creature.
The African Wild Dog or African Hunting dog is a beautiful animal. Sadly now endangered, there are only a few thousand of these animals left. Learn all about the African Wild Dog.
The white lion is a beautiful animal. Find out why these lions are white and learn how they are doing in the wild.
Updated: 07/15/2011, TerriRexson
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Dan Scott on 08/22/2015

I hate hyenas, they kill my fave animal the cheetah

Jimmie on 07/15/2011

I did! I didn't know their "laughter" was actually a sound of aggression. Interesting.

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