Before we talk about The Different types of Hyenas we should take a look at this beautiful animal, The Hyenas are feliform carnivorous mammals of the Hyaenidae / haɪˈɛnɪdiː / family. With only four extant species of hyenas (in three genera), it is the fifth smallest biological family of carnivores and one of the smallest in the mammalian class.
Despite their low diversity, hyenas are unique and vital components of most African ecosystems. We only see the most famous of these Types of hyenas in Africa.
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Different types of Hyenas
There are a lot of misconceptions about the hyena. The hyena is not only a scavenger, and the hyena is not a wild dog, but it has nothing to do with dogs. Here are some facts to clarify those misconceptions, and we will learn more about the four types of hyenas, with a mention of the most important characteristics that distinguish them.
What are the four types of hyenas
Most of the people think hyenas exist only in Africa and this is wrong there are some hyenas species in Asia and there are the most famous types of hyenas in Africa The Spotted hyenas and the Striped Hyena.
1)- Brown Hyena (Hyaena Brunnea)
The brown hyena, also known as the strandwolf, is the rarest of the Hyenas species. It is found in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia. The largest remaining population of these hyenas types are found in the Kalahari Desert. It is mainly found in desert and semi-desert environments and in woodland savannas. In rare cases,
the brown hyena moves near urban areas in search of food. It is distinguished from other types of hyenas by its pointy ears, short tail and long, shaggy dark brown coat. these species of hyena have powerful jaws like those of the spotted hyena that can easily break bones. They are scavengers and their diet consists of the remains of carcasses. However, they supplement the diet with eggs, insects, rodents and small mammals.
2)- Spotted Hyena (Crocuta Crocuta)
The spotted hyena is the most widespread of the Hyenas species and is the biggest type of hyenas, classified as a species of Least Concern as between 30,000 and 50,000 individuals roam the wild. They are native to sub-Saharan Africa where they continue to thrive. It is the largest of the hyenas and easily distinguished from the other species of hyenas by its bear-like physique.
This hyena types is the most social carnivore in that it lives in groups of about 30 members with complex social hierarchies. This hyena species have a sturdy and well-built body but underdeveloped hindquarters. Its skull is much more prominent than that of the striped hyena, its jaws are powerful enough to crush bones and hold prey for a long time.
The bite force of a spotted hyena outmatches that of the brown bear. The fur of the spotted hyena varies and change with age; it contains spots rather than stripes typical of the brown and striped hyenas. It is the most defined scavenger in sub-Saharan Africa. When moving in a park, these animals are known to snatch kills from lions and leopards. Although these animals are scavengers, they kill 60% of their prey.
3)- Striped Hyena (Hyaena Hyaena)
The striped hyena is native to East and North Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. these hyena types are considered a Near Threatened species because the number of mature individuals is less than 10,000 and continues to decline.
The striped hyena is the smallest of the true Hyenas species. It is relatively bigger than the aardwolf. The forelimbs are significantly longer compared to the hind legs. The neck is long and thick preventing the animal from moving its head freely. These types of hyenas have a winter coat that is long and uniform and stretches from the occiput to the tip of the tail. It is primarily nocturnal typically leaving the den during total darkness and returning before sunset.
They are not as social as the spotted hyenas with groups containing between two to seven animals. The striped hyena is a scavenger that feeds on carcasses regardless of the stage of decomposition. It also feeds on ligaments, fresh bones, bone marrow, and cartilages. Occasionally the hyena will attack and kill an animal it can overcome.
5 striped hyena subspecies have been defined based on their forehead and physical characteristics, and these Hyena breeds are:
- Syrian strain, Hyaena hyaena syriaca. It is endemic to the Levant, Iraq and Anatolia.
- Royal lineage, Hyaena hyaena sultana. It is endemic to the Arabian Peninsula.
- Northeast African subspecies, Hyaena hyaena dubbah. It is endemic to northeastern Africa.
- Barbarian subspecies, Hyaena hyaena barbara. It is endemic to northwest Africa.
- Hyena subspecies, Hyaena hyaena hyaena. It is inhabited by India.
4)- Aardwolf (Proteles Cristata)
The aardwolf Hyena is the sole species of the dog-like hyenas after the rest were wiped out in North America by climate change. It is sometimes referred to as the Maanhaar jackal because it resembles more of a jackal than a hyena.
Unlike the other types of hyenas, the aardwolf does not hunt but instead feeds on small insects and larvae. It can be found in the shrublands of Southern and Eastern Africa. It prefers resting during the day and emerges at night to hunt insects especially termites. these hyena species are often mistaken for solitary animals, but they are monogamous and live with their offspring.
These hyena types are territorial and are likely to chase the intruder out of the territory. The aardwolf is classified as a species of Least Concern because of their extensive range. The immediate threat to these animals is the loss of habitat and their persecution by farmers who believe they are a threat to their livestock
More About Hyena Types
Where do Hyenas live?
Most types of Hyenas are widespread and found in most habitats. Spotted hyenas are found in all habitats, including savannas, grasslands, woodlands, forest edges, sub desert, and even mountains up to 4,000 meters.
The hyena habitat depends on the Hyena types. The brown hyena has a very limited range of habitats and lives only in southern Africa, including the Kalahari and Namib deserts, and is usually found between the border between Angola and Namibia and the Orange River in South Africa.
There are two subspecies of the land wolf hyena. One subspecies lives in southern Zambia, Angola and Mozambique, in addition to northeastern Uganda and Somalia, and the other subspecies are found between central Tanzania, l ‘Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt.
The spotted hyena has a slightly larger range of habitats and lives in sub-Saharan Africa. It is found throughout sub-Saharan Africa. The spotted hyena is also the largest of the Serengeti’s large predators.
The striped hyena has the largest range of habitats compared to other species of hyenas, and it lives in northern and northeastern Africa, the Middle East and Asia all the way to southern Siberia.
The hyena can adapt to any habitat in which it is found, such as grasslands, woodlands, savannas, forest edges, sub-deserts, and mountains up to 13,000 feet (3962.4) meters high, according to the National Wildlife Foundation.
The behaviour of the hyenas :
Hyenas are very social animals and live in groups called clans. Clans can have up to 80 members. Not only are the female spotted hyenas larger, but they are also more aggressive and domineering in their clans than the males, as all the females rank higher than the males of the clan, however, the brown hyena, the striped hyena and the land wolves have male-dominated clans.
Hyenas and diet:
Hyenas are carnivorous, which means they only eat meat. We know that the hyena is not only a scavenger of excrement but that it can choose and kill its prey for food, such as the bull-headed nautilus, antelope, hippos, birds, jackals and lizards, fish, snakes, foxes, porcupines, eggs and insects.
The size of the meal is determined by the size of the hyena clan, the clan works together to catch the prey, and therefore the larger prey needs a lot of clan members
Is the hyena threatened with extinction?
TAll the Hyena Types are threatened species, there are currently about 10,000 adult hyenas in the world, according to the National Wildlife Foundation, and the only predator of the hyena is humans.
The hyena loses its habitat due to agriculture, and farmers often call it a cattle raider, however, the brown hyena is the only one that is endangered, currently.
This is because the average number of brown hyenas in the world is estimated at less than 10,000 mature individuals, and it is estimated that their number will continue to decline by 10% over the next three generations, which is equivalent to 24 years and we won’t see these type of hyenas again.
Can Hyena Make good pet?
Can hyenas be good pets? Yes, hyenas can be good pets, but you still need to be careful and have great safety precautions because they are still wild animals. However, it takes a lot of patience and time to make them tamed. So people that have no patience cannot keep hyenas as pets.
Most the people like to have the striped hyena as a pet because this type of hyenas is so strong and have this powerful shape.
Although many people compare the hyena to dogs, the hyena actually looks more like cats than dogs, and in fact, the hyena is a member of the suborder Felidae, a classification of carnivores such as cats, and there are four species in the hyena family, and they vary in size.