Sydney Zoo | Spotted Hyena
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Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Species Crocuta crocuta
Spotted Hyena
Spotted Hyena Distribution MapDistribution
Spotted Hyena
Top speed
60km/h
Weight
40-75kg
Lifespan
Up to 25 years in the wild
Length
90-170cm

The spotted hyena is one of three species of Hyena that make up the family Hyaenidae - along with the brown and striped hyena. They are also the largest of the three species with fully grown females weighting up to 75 kilograms, which can sometimes be 20 kilograms heavier than males.

Hyenas are found throughout the central region of Africa where their range can often overlap with other carnivore species like African painted dogs and lions, causing conflict over competition for food and other resources.

The vocalization or call exhibited by the spotted hyena commonly imitates that of a human like laugh. They are also incredibly intelligent and a highly skilled feeder in many ways.

Spotted Hyenas display many diverse feeding behaviours such as scavenge feeding and co-operative hunting – where the large number of clan members is a great advantage. Hyenas can also hunt solo.

They eat a variety of different size mammals - as large as lions and as small as reptiles.

They have shorter hind legs compared to their front legs with a thick, muscly neck and a sloped back which all allow for them to carry a large amount of meat. They can run for large periods of time without tiring.

A Hyena clan lives in a matriarchal society (led by a female), with the rest of the group slotting into a structured hierarchy.

Conservation Status

Did You Know?

Despite their ill-informed reputation, hyenas are very playful and can spend time throughout the day playing, chasing each other around and spending time in water holes, if available.