5 Fascinating Facts About Brown Hyena


Most tourists wish to see the Big Five while on safari. But there is so much more to see on this beautiful continent. You can see brown hyenas. They are among the common large carnivores. You can see them in most of the countries in Africa. Going on safari is one of the most rewarding activities in the world. You get to see most of the wild animals found on earth. You also get to meet the most friendly and beautiful people in Africa. In this article, we give you 5 fascinating facts about brown hyenas. It is one of the wild animals that survive in deserts.

Amazing facts about hyenas

Hyena is one of the most common wild animals in Africa. They see and hear better at night. This is one of the amazing facts about hyenas. There are 3 common species of hyena. These include the striped, spotted, and brown hyena. Most people know about the spotted hyena.

Brown Hyena vs spotted hyena

You can easily identify a brown hyena from a spotted hyena. Just as their name suggests, a brown hyena has a brown body. This is compared to a spotted hyena that has clear sports on the body. The brown hyena is smaller than the spotted hyena.

Brown Hyena population

Brown hyena has a long shaggy coat and pointed ears. It is famous for its howl that sounds like a hyper-human laugh. It has a large head and muscular body. It has long hairs on its back, shoulders, and neck. When it is nervous, it raises this hair.

Brown hyenas live in open woodlands, semi-deserts, and deserts. They can also survive in urban areas. You can find them in the southern parts of Africa. You can see them in Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, and Namibia among other countries. The largest population is in the Kalahari Desert and parts of southwest Africa.

There are about 5,000 to 8,000 brown hyenas in Africa. They are classified as near threatened. Their current population is a bit stable. Humans are the main threats. Humans believe that brown hyenas are a threat to their livestock. As a result, they choose to kill them. But these hyenas rarely attack livestock. Other locals use the animal in traditional medicine. So, they are trapped, hunted, or poisoned. Also, human activities such as farming are a threat to brown hyenas. They are causing a loss of habitat. Wild animals are losing space in which they were previously able to grow and thrive. These acts are reducing the population of the amazing carnivores and wildlife in general.

5 fascinating facts about Brown Hyena

  • They are nocturnal

These hyena species are nocturnal. They are very active at night. You will find them resting during the day. Mostly, you will see adults sleeping under rocks, trees, or bushes. Their sight is perfect at night.

  • They are polygamous

Brown hyenas have complex mating systems. An alpha mate can mate with all females from a different clan. A female can mate with several males from other clans. This complex system is among the 5 fascinating facts about brown hyenas.

Mating occurs between May and August. This is usually a dry season. Breeding occurs after about 4 months. The gestation period is about 3 months. A female can give birth to 1 to 4 babies or cubs. The cubs start to eat solid food at 3 months. At this age, the mothers move them to a communal den. Any female can take care of them in the communal den. Cubs are mature at 2 to 3 years. Females will stay in the den while males will leave.

  • They are not picky eaters

Most wild animals are picky eaters. But not these hyenas. They can eat meat. This can be from animals killed by other animals. But they are also good hunters. Most people think that brown hyenas are just scavengers. But they get more than half of their diet from hunting. They can eat vegetable matter. They can also eat animal droppings. They just don’t choose. This is one of the 5 fascinating facts about brown hyenas.

They have stronger jaws than other mammals. Their digestive tract allows them to get nutrients from bones and skin. Hooves, hair, and horn are the only parts that are not fully digested.

  • They are very territorial

Brown hyenas are very territorial. Male brown hyenas live as members of a clan or as nomads. Nomads have left their birth clans and are looking for a clan they can join as alpha males. They use a substance with a strong smell to mark their territories. They produce this substance from their anal glands. They also use their droppings to mark territories and communicate with others.

  • They pose before eating an animal kill

Lions are the major threat to brown hyenas. Mostly, they live in groups to reduce the danger. Before approaching animal kill, they may delay for up to 30 minutes. This is among the 5 fascinating facts about brown hyenas. It is the only way to ensure their safety.  They also make high-pitched sounds to warn others of the approaching lion.

In this post, we have identified 5 fascinating facts about brown hyenas. There is so much to learn about African wildlife. We have many useful articles. Follow our blog and discover a lot about Africa and safari tours.