Hyena cubs are very cute. While on live drives last year, the crew at Djuma found a den with a single cub. It looked like a teddy bear and the name Teddy waas given to the little darling. The den was visited often and we watched it grow up on the live drives over the internet. It was great fun. And one day we even heard Teddy starting to “sing” his/her call. To this day, the unique call of this hyena is heard on the Waterhole camera at night a few times a week. Viewers grew to love or at least appreciate hyenas as a result of watching that cub grow up. We learned everything we could. It was wonderful. So, the answer to the question is, They are CUTE! Congratulations. Your guests have many treats to see and learn about these darlings. Hyena are fascinating and I hope your guides will use this chance to educate guests on all the wonderful things there are to learn about the Hyena.
An active spotted hyena den can give one a fascinating insight into the lives of these often misunderstood carnivores. Observing the interactions of the adults with the cubs and the antics of the cubs themselves can provide endless hours of viewing pleasure while out in the bush.
It was therefore with great excitement that we learned that ranger Melvin Sambo and tracker Milton Khoza had followed a female hyena early one morning, and she had led them back to a previously unknown den, in the south western sector of Londolozi Game Reserve. This ranger/tracker team had not been able to get a great view of the cubs on that first morning, as the little ones had been shy, so we decided to try ourselves the following week. It was only the second time the den had been visited, and we were rewarded with a fantastic sighting of the female suckling her three cubs in the early morning light.
Photographic opportunities were slightly marred by the thick grass growing on the edge of the termite mound that formed the den, but it was thrilling to spend time with the still relatively young cubs. Hyena young are referred to as cubs and not pups as they are more closely related to cats than dogs. They only begin to follow their mother on hunting and scavenging forays at about one year of age, so we should hopefully have some fantastic viewing of this new den site for a number of months, unless the mother decides to move den sites, which she may do to avoid parasite build-up.
Come what may, the hour or so we spent with the youngest hyena cubs I have yet seen in the bush was a wonderful highlight of the year so far.
And so we come to the real question.
Hyena cubs; cute or ugly?… Let me know in the comments section below, I would love to hear your thoughts, and if you need any further encouragement take a look at this video from the archives of the blog film which shows a previously active hyena den.
Written and Photographed by: James Tyrrell
Filmed by: Rich Laburn
Filed under Wildlife
Hi Trevor and Colleen, all is very well thank you. The den site is not near Dudley but rather the open areas of Western Londolozi. Look forward to showing it to the two of you on your next visit. Rich