Spotted Hyena: Crocuta crocuta
Distribution and Habitat
Found throughout Africa, south of the Sahara Desert and eastwards through Arabia to India.
Spotted hyenas prefer open country, even semi-desert, but they are rarely found in forested areas. They range from sea level up to 13,200 feet.
The largest member of the hyena family, and also the most aggressive, the female spotted hyena reaches and average weight of 130 pounds. Males weigh about ten pounds less. They are brownish-gray with dark spots. They have a dog-like face, round ears and sloping hindquarters. The spotted hyena has probably the most powerful jaws in the animal kingdom. Both females and males have external sex organs similar in appearance.
Although they appear more similar to dogs, hyenas are actually more closely related to cats.
Hyenas may reach speed of up to 40 mph and can run for long distances without tiring.
Their keen hearing and sharp eyesight at night make them skilled hunters.
Quite vocal, the hyena makes a strange cry which resembles a laugh, hence the name “laughing” hyena.
Hyenas live in clans that may number as many as 80 individuals which are led by females.