Kruger National Park

The Hyena

The basics

  • There are four species in the hyena family: Spotted, Brown, Striped, and Aardwolf.
  • They are mostly nocturnal but it is not rare for them to be active in early- morning hours.
  • Hyenas are found in almost any habitat like grasslands, woodlands, savannas, forest edges, sub-deserts and mountains as high up as 13,000 feet (3962.4 m).
  • Hyenas are territorial.
  • Hyenas are highly social and live in groups called clans.
  • Each clan can have up to 80 members.

The hunt and the kill

  • When in a group, they can devour a zebra in half an hour, not even leaving the bones.
  • They hunt and kill in packs.
  • Hyenas don’t like wasting food. They often hide leftovers in watering holes.
  • Hyenas eat every part of an animal, including bones and hooves.
  • They can smell the dead 4 kilometres away.

Hyenas and Mating

  • Mating occurs outside of the clan.
  • The mating between two nonrelated individuals last seven days.
  • Hyenas have a gestation period of around three months.

Hyena Cubs

  • Hyenas deliver two to four cubs.
  • Hyena females look after each other’s cubs in the clan.
  • The cub’s eyes open after five to nine days and at two weeks old they are mature enough to leave the den.
  • Cubs are dependent on the mother’s milk for six months and nurse for over a year.
  • After two years, the “cub” ventures out on its own.


Written by Tersha van Staden