The great spotted hyena is known for its maniacal laugh, unearthly shriek and haunting whoop, and have a bad reputation, often viewed with revulsion. Their seemingly ugly features and skulking around do not give an image of a cuddly cat, but rather they are known as effective scavengers, feared by the most powerful predators and afraid of no beast.
Even though they are known for scavenging from carcasses left by other predators, spotted Hyenas are efficient hunters that can prey on large animals such as wildebeest and antelopes. They also feed on smaller prey such as birds and snakes when they have to.
Hyenas are actually excellent hunters themselves and their spoils are most likely to be stolen by lions with hyenas being responsible for the kill just over 50 percent of the time.
They communicate using wide range of calls such as whoops to keep in contact over long distances. The noise they make can be used to identify them individually as each hyena has its own whoop.
They can live up to 20 years in the wild and have excellent night time vision and extraordinary hearing.
Hyenas are actually very social animals, led by a dominant female with clear rules on the hierarchy. They are very tight-knit family groups and look out for each other fiercely.
A Clan or family can have from 10 to 80 hyenas.
The Okavango Delta is home to several hundred hyenas at least, with the best viewing areas being Savuti, Linyanti and even Khwai.
Fun facts about the Spotted Hyena
The Spotted Hyena is the one that is popular in cartoons and movies.
Its given name is Crocuta crocuta, and is sometimes called the laughing hyena.
Hyenas all have excellent night vision and are known as very intelligent.
They are related more to cats, although they are often thought of as dogs.
Hyenas were raised for food and kept as pets in ancient Egypt.