Striped Hyena

Hyena, Striped

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  • Information
  • Conservation
  • Lifestyle

Description

Arguably the most beautiful member of the Hyaenidae family, striped hyenas have a long narrow body, shaggy golden fur streaked with black, and large pointed ears. Like other hyenas, they sport thick muzzles and longer front legs than back. One might see a long erect dorsal mane running across the back of a threatened striped hyena making them appear much larger than they really are. In many ways this remarkable animal resembles a member of the dog family (Canidae), but they are unique enough (and genetically distant enough) to be given their own family name composed of four species (Spotted Hyena, Striped Hyena, Brown Hyena, & Aardwolf).

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Hyaenidae
Genus
Hyaena
Species
H. hyaena
Conservation Status
Near Threatened

Key Facts

Height
26-32in (~65-80 cm)
Weight
50-100lb (~25-45 kg)

The IUCN Red List describes Hyaena hyaena as Near Threatened with a global population of under 10,000 individuals. Humans are considered the primary agents behind the decline of this species. Often persecuted for grave robbing, or as agricultural and livestock pests, striped hyenas are often and easily subject to poisoning. Such actions are sometimes targeted but also often unintentional. Poisoning has been used to control other predator populations/actions as well as the spread of carnivore carried diseases (e.g. rabies). Striped hyenas are also facing diminishing resources as a secondary effect of the reduction of other predator populations. With the reduction of lion and leopard populations, as well as others, the amount of carrion is drastically reduced.

Social Life
While spending upwards to 90% of their lives solitarily, striped hyenas seem to maintain small social groups. Groups are polyandrous composed of a single adult female and up to three adult males. Though not remarkably territorial, resident males will attempt to defend their home range from non-residents. Being a small, mostly solitary carnivore, this hyena will avoid competition with larger predators when possible. Foraging activity is primarily nocturnal and almost always solitary. When males do meet and compete they do so in ritualized wrestling matches biting at each other’s cheeks. The loser of the bout submits by presenting his rear. While there is a degree of male-male competition, the dispersal of striped hyenas allows equal opportunity for mating with the resident female. Because of this, litters in the wild are often composed of mixed paternity. A low level of group competition allows for this phenomenon without attempts of infanticide. Males do not seem to invest in or help rear their offspring, though immature family members will help care for siblings by bringing portions of meat back to nursery dens.

Habitat and Range
The distribution of striped hyenas is considerable, spanning from East and North-East Africa through the Arabian Peninsula and into the Indian subcontinent. They occupy arid to semi-arid habitats not straying more than 10 km from a water source. They tend to avoid open desert, staying within denser scrubland and, occasionally savanna grassland. Den sites are typically found in rocky hills, ravines, and crevices.

Diet
Considered omnivorous scavengers, striped hyenas are known to feed on a wide variety of vertebrates, invertebrates, vegetables, fruit, and human refuse. Primarily scavengers, hyenas are quickly lured by the scent of carrion but will occasionally hunt small mammals and insects. In some cases striped hyenas have even been documented raiding human grave sites.

Lifespan
Accurate life spans have not been well documented in the wild though striped hyenas are known to live into their early to mid-twenties in captivity.

Predators
They are not the favored prey of any large predator though they are known to be submissive to the larger spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) and will allow spotted hyenas to steal their food.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 2.5-3 years, Female: 2.5-3 years
Mating Season: None
Birth Season: None
Gestation: 90 days
No. of Young: 1-5

Information

Description

Arguably the most beautiful member of the Hyaenidae family, striped hyenas have a long narrow body, shaggy golden fur streaked with black, and large pointed ears. Like other hyenas, they sport thick muzzles and longer front legs than back. One might see a long erect dorsal mane running across the back of a threatened striped hyena making them appear much larger than they really are. In many ways this remarkable animal resembles a member of the dog family (Canidae), but they are unique enough (and genetically distant enough) to be given their own family name composed of four species (Spotted Hyena, Striped Hyena, Brown Hyena, & Aardwolf).

Classification

Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Hyaenidae
Genus
Hyaena
Species
H. hyaena
Conservation Status
Near Threatened

Key Facts

Height
26-32in (~65-80 cm)
Weight
50-100lb (~25-45 kg)
Conservation

The IUCN Red List describes Hyaena hyaena as Near Threatened with a global population of under 10,000 individuals. Humans are considered the primary agents behind the decline of this species. Often persecuted for grave robbing, or as agricultural and livestock pests, striped hyenas are often and easily subject to poisoning. Such actions are sometimes targeted but also often unintentional. Poisoning has been used to control other predator populations/actions as well as the spread of carnivore carried diseases (e.g. rabies). Striped hyenas are also facing diminishing resources as a secondary effect of the reduction of other predator populations. With the reduction of lion and leopard populations, as well as others, the amount of carrion is drastically reduced.

Lifestyle

Social Life
While spending upwards to 90% of their lives solitarily, striped hyenas seem to maintain small social groups. Groups are polyandrous composed of a single adult female and up to three adult males. Though not remarkably territorial, resident males will attempt to defend their home range from non-residents. Being a small, mostly solitary carnivore, this hyena will avoid competition with larger predators when possible. Foraging activity is primarily nocturnal and almost always solitary. When males do meet and compete they do so in ritualized wrestling matches biting at each other’s cheeks. The loser of the bout submits by presenting his rear. While there is a degree of male-male competition, the dispersal of striped hyenas allows equal opportunity for mating with the resident female. Because of this, litters in the wild are often composed of mixed paternity. A low level of group competition allows for this phenomenon without attempts of infanticide. Males do not seem to invest in or help rear their offspring, though immature family members will help care for siblings by bringing portions of meat back to nursery dens.

Habitat and Range
The distribution of striped hyenas is considerable, spanning from East and North-East Africa through the Arabian Peninsula and into the Indian subcontinent. They occupy arid to semi-arid habitats not straying more than 10 km from a water source. They tend to avoid open desert, staying within denser scrubland and, occasionally savanna grassland. Den sites are typically found in rocky hills, ravines, and crevices.

Diet
Considered omnivorous scavengers, striped hyenas are known to feed on a wide variety of vertebrates, invertebrates, vegetables, fruit, and human refuse. Primarily scavengers, hyenas are quickly lured by the scent of carrion but will occasionally hunt small mammals and insects. In some cases striped hyenas have even been documented raiding human grave sites.

Lifespan
Accurate life spans have not been well documented in the wild though striped hyenas are known to live into their early to mid-twenties in captivity.

Predators
They are not the favored prey of any large predator though they are known to be submissive to the larger spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) and will allow spotted hyenas to steal their food.

Reproduction
Sexual maturity: Male: 2.5-3 years, Female: 2.5-3 years
Mating Season: None
Birth Season: None
Gestation: 90 days
No. of Young: 1-5

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Hyena, Striped