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Clash of the Hyenas Facts

Clash of the Hyenas

Clash of the Hyenas (View larger version)

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  • Hyenas consume bones which have a high mineral content, making their droppings a highly visible, chalky white.

  • The powerful jaws and digestive tract of the hyena allow it to process and obtain nutrients from skin and bones. The only parts of the prey not fully digested are hair, horns and hooves; these are regurgitated in the form of pellets.

  • In the wild, as many as one-quarter of all hyena cubs die in the depths of their natal burrows.

  • The average life span of a spotted hyena in the wild is up to 25 years.

  • Skilled hunters, spotted hyenas can take down wildebeest and antelope. They also kill and eat birds, insects, lizards and snakes.

  • Spotted hyenas usually bear litters of two cubs, which are born with their eyes open and fully formed teeth.

  • Spotted hyenas hunt for much of their food and usually prey on large animals. A single spotted hyena can catch an adult wildebeest after a three mile chase.

  • It was once thought that hyenas were hermaphroditic animals because the females sported genitalia similar to the males.

  • Spotted hyenas are one of the few animals in which the young perform siblicide. Beginning just hours after birth, siblings of the same sex (often both female) battle for dominance, biting and grabbing each other by the neck.

  • Hyenas are closely related to cats, although they appear similar to dogs.

  • Spotted hyenas are larger than brown or striped hyenas.

  • There are three species of hyenas, and they belong to a superfamily that includes cats, mongooses, and civets.

  • Spotted hyenas live together in large groups called clans. The clans can include up 80 individuals and are led by females.

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