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Sunday Jukani animal Facts

This post is sponsored by SAASA and Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary

Fun Facts about Spotted Hyenas

Spotted Hyenas – fun facts

1 - Hyenas make loud barking noises that sound like cackling laughter, but it's not because they're amused by anything. Instead, a hyena's "laughter" is actually a form of communication used to convey frustration, excitement, or fear.

2 – Hyenas are important because they clean up debris. Hyena aren't just cunning killers, but they're also useful scavengers. The bone crushers will clean the site of a kill and rid it of discarded bones and debris. Predators will only eat the fleshy bits from their kill.

3 – Hyenas are smarter than chimps. The size of an animal's frontal cortex is believed to be connected to its social intelligence, and hyenas have a frontal cortex on par with primates. A study done by Duke University showed that a captive pair of hyenas performed better at problem-solving and social cooperation than chimpanzees. Even more amazing is that during the study, the hyenas solved all the problems in silence, using only non-verbal signals for communication.

4 - Hyenas can weigh as much as 190 pounds with a bite capable of crushing bones. Their intelligence and ability to coordinate hunts enable them to kill prey much more often than people realize. Interestingly enough, though they look dog-like, but, hyenas are more closely related to cats.

5 – Hyenas are smelly creatures. They roam large territories in packs and use smell to guide their way. Pouches near their anus produce a foul smelling paste called "hyena butter", which they rub onto objects and even each other. The smell doesn't just mark territory.

6 – Spotted Hyenas are cunning killers. Despite what some folks and fables would have you believe, spotted hyenas don’t just scavenge for lion leftovers. Spotted hyenas hunt and kill in packs. Ninety-five percent of what a hyena eats comes from hunting. A group of hyenas can devour an entire zebra, leaving no leftovers — not even the bones — in under half an hour. However, this feeding frenzy comes at a cost; hyenas rip, claw, and fight with one another over the remains of their meal.

Of course, striped hyenas are a different story. Striped hyenas live off of carrion and are often hit by vehicles while eating road kill.

7 – Female Hyenas rule. Female spotted hyenas are more muscular and more aggressive than their male counterparts. This is because the females have three times as much testosterone in their bodies. As a result, spotted hyena societies are matriarchal. Even baby girl cubs rule over the boys.

8 – Hyenas have creepy greeting ceremonies. When a spotted hyena greets another hyena after a long separation, they engage in greeting ceremonies during which both male and female members of the species develop erections.

9 - Sordid myths and legends about hyenas abound. In Tanzania and India, legend holds that witches ride hyenas. An Ethiopian folk religion tells of people who possess the evil eye and can change themselves into the creatures. In the Middle Ages, hyenas were believed to dig up and consume the bodies of the dead. It’s worth noting that they do nothing of the sort – this is all nonsense.

10 – Ernest Hemingway hated Hyenas. Given their reputations as scavengers—and their creepy laughs—it makes sense that plenty of people don’t like hyenas. In Green Hills of Africa, Ernest Hemingway 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 …

Join us next week for more fun facts courtesy of SAASA and Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary here on Lets Go Big Tunes blog page

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