Fun Facts About Hyenas

There are often mixed feeling about Hyenas. Some consider them to be dirty scavengers of the bush, while others see them as beautiful and captivating. However you see them, there is no doubt that the Hyena is a very interesting animal, and so we have included a few Hyena facts here:

  • Ernest Hemmingway hated hyenas and in his book “Green Hills Of Africa” he wrote: Fisi, the hyena, hermaphroditic self-eating devourer of the dead, trailer of calving cows, ham-stringer, potential biter-off of your face at night while you slept, sad yowler, camp-follower, stinking, foul, with jaws that crack the bones the lion leaves, belly dragging, loping away on the brown plain …The crazy laughing sound that a Hyena makes gives an indication of that animal’s status within the clan, the pitch and frequency of the call signal the hyenas social standing. 
  • Hyenas are said to be brighter than chimps. The size of an animal’s frontal cortex is said to indicate the social intelligence of that animal, and Hyenas have a similar magnitude to primates. A study held on two captive hyenas at Duke University in America showed that the hyenas not only performed better at problem solving then the chimpanzees, but performed all the activities in silence!
  • Hyenas are very capable hunters, contrary to popular belief. Always referred to as scavengers, it may come as a surprise to know that over 80% of the food hyenas eat are killed by them. They hunt and kill in packs, often bearing down on the young and weak.
  • Female hyenas have 3 times as much testosterone in their bodies than the males. These girls are far more aggressive and muscular than the boys which means they rule the roost!
  • The female hyena has a pseudo penis... It is actually an elongated clitoris which can reach up to 7 inches in length.
  • It is almost impossible to tame a hyena. Although Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics depicts these animals being subordinate and treated like pets, it was just an illusion. Today we know the animals may have been tamed, but it would only have lasted for a short period of time before their natural wild animal instincts would have kicked back in.
  • Female hyenas only have 2 nipples so in litters larger than 2 the weaker babies are often pushed aside and will eventually die of starvation.


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