Hanging out with Hyenas

Hyenas have almost become like a dirty word in the animal kingdom. Thanks to The Lion King, we all associate hyenas with hysterical, dim and just not that pleasant. But how can you say no to this irresistible face?!?

A smile of an angel.

What could this face possibly do to you?

Did I mention that the babies are even cuter?!?!

Kind of reminds me of my pet Samoyed at home.

Ok but it wasn’t for 5 minutes to realize how wrong I was. These hyenas are ferocious little things that would eat almost anything. The babies started attacked the tyres of the vehicle thinking that to was something to eat. Uck.

When they approached, I thought that they were just curious and wanted to make friends. How wrong was I when they savagely attacked the tyres? Our guide assured us that if we stuck our foot out, we could say goodbye to pedicures.

There was one exceptionally mean hyena with a strange scar on its forehead that went around attacking everyone. The guide theorised that it could have been the work of wild dogs. Apparently hyenas don’t care too much about pain and are happy gnawing on a bone even if being attacked by other animals. Hyenas often fight with wild dogs over food and prefer to scavenge rather than hunt. On the other hand, cheetahs are known to eat only what they kill. Noble.

Hyenas have matriarchs rather than patriarchs like lions but everyone hunts together. Because hyenas are smaller than most predators, they would need numbers to cut down prey and to defend their meal from others. As a result, they don’t allocate tasks and hunt in packs. A little like a group of piranhas. Not pleasant.

They also live in old termite dunes. As I’ve mentioned, everything in Kruger is much larger than in Phinda, even the termite dunes. This one that the cackle (yes, a cackle of hyenas) appropriated was about 1.5m tall and 4m wide.

So yes, maybe the rumors are true and hanging out with hyenas might not be such a bright idea after all.