Striped hyenas feature a wide head, dark eyes, a strong nose, and huge, pointed ears. Although their muzzle, ears, and throat are all black, their coat can be golden yellow, brown, or gray with black stripes on the body and legs. A long mane of hair grows down the back. They are slightly smaller than spotted and brown hyenas and are less studied.
Striped hyenas, once assumed to be solitary, actually live in small groups. They do, however, forage on their own. A mother and her adult daughters may share a den and hunting areas when food is available. Young females who have yet to establish their own home range or reproduce may assist their moms or sisters in raising cubs.
Striped hyenas are normally silent, but when attacked, they may make loud screeches or growls before roaring. They communicate with their cubs by calling to them and feeding them when they cry. When agitated or threatened, these hyenas lift their massive manes, which make them appear nearly double their size, luring predators away. As a warning to rivals, they scent-mark the limits of their territories.
Striped hyenas are nocturnal foragers who only come out during wet, overcast, or stormy weather. They relax and sleep in enormous caves, though they will occasionally seek refuge in dense foliage.
Striped hyenas are classified as a low-risk species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are extremely sensitive to habitat deterioration caused by humans outside of protected areas. As a result, hyenas are frequently poisoned.
Striped hyenas are primarily scavengers who eat on carrion, though they will kill small and medium-sized animals as well as other small vertebrates on occasion. Insects, various fruits, and human waste are also eaten by them.
Striped hyenas are challenging to examine because they live in low concentrations across broad areas. The total African population of striped hyenas is estimated to be between 2,450 and 7,850, which is almost half of their global population. More than 1,000 have been recorded in Kenya.
If you want to observe an African striped hyena in the wild, the best place to start is one of Kenya’s private concessions that conducts night drives.
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