About the Author

Chris Taylor

Ranger

Chris was born and raised in the Kwa-Zulu/Natal Midlands where his family inspired his early passion for the natural world. Exploring Southern Africa as he grew up, this passion was allowed to develop and his curiosity to expand. After high school, Chris spent ...

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16 Comments

on Complexities of a Clan: A Closer Look at Hyenas

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Tammy Hynes
Explorer

I don’t like the hyenas I think there clans are to large which makes keeping kills unfair for leopards and female lions

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

We were told by a guide on an early trip in Botswana that the larger, stronger of two cubs will kill the other. Is that really true?

Chelsea Allard
Master Tracker

I, too, have read this in some animal behavior and ecology books, but not sure if it’s something that happens with every litter (like in certain bird species), or just occasionally.

William Paynter
Master Tracker

Thanks Chris for the lessons about hyenas. While they are an important part of the natural echo system, their behaviors are certainly different from most other mammals. Scavengers are a much needed part of nature but produce a winner take all system of survival for the species.

Ann Richardson Berg
Digital Tracker

Hello Chris, Thank you for a very good article about hyenas. I think they are very intelligent and I will never forget when we visit a hyena den and they were all at home! I have never felt so welcome! Nearly everybody came to our car, not the matriarc and her pups, and I had a wounderful contact with one of them for quite a while… It was fantastic being with them, it was just me and my husband and our guide. I will never forget those fantastic moments! I was so impressed of their female leader! And at the end she left for hunting…
They are strong, clever animals and also very charming! I love them!
Thank you for sharing!

Paul Canales
Master Tracker

Thanks for sharing this Anne! Broadens the picture significantly!!

Paul Canales
Master Tracker

Thanks for this blog on the much maligned Hyena Chris. While their behavior seems abhorrent when anthropomorphized, they are really amazing and critical in their own place in the ecosystem.

Barbara Wallace
Senior Digital Ranger

Thank you Chris! Your story has given me more insight and therefore more compassion towards hyenas.

Cally Staniland
Master Tracker

Have to say they are sort of creepy creatures but much needed for being the cleaners in the bush.Chris thanks for a wonderful insight into their world and some fabulous photos of the cute pups to go with it. ❤️

Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

Dear Chris, as a child I was mesmerised by all cats beauty, birds colours and deer / antelope and rodents cuteness, but always thought of hyena as very useful animals. They eat all: literally, from flesh and bones to camera! They are the savannah cleaners along with vultures, that are often left unnoticed. I watched several documentaries where siblings killed and ate each others, but after all this is something other animals do, like diurnal raptors (eagles for example). It is hard to watch they eat animals alive and rob predators especially leopards, I hope one day they will cooperate like hyena and lionesses do! It is interesting that both leopards and hyena can survive where other predators cannot, so, their adaptation was awarded by evolution.

Valmai Vorster
Master Tracker

Hi Chris thanks for your story on the hyena clan. They are most certainly very intriguing animals, their calls are very loud and quite intimidating. The little cubs are cute and very inquisitive. But you have given us lot of information on the hyenas, which is very welcome, to be able to understand these animals better.

Vin Beni
Guest contributor

First experience with a hyena den was remarkable. Eventually, pups approached the vehicle and began licking the tires.

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

Thanks Chris, for the interesting article on hyenas.
Though the adult hyenas seem to be quite ugly animals, in my view, if one can speak of an “ugly” animal at all, the young ones are really cute. I read a book by Jane Goodall and she also describes the hyenas as very caring mothers, good hunters and intelligent animals though lots of people still have prejudices against them.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Thanks Chris for this interesting article on the hyena clans. Whilst most often maligned, these highly intelligent and family oriented mammals are necessary members of the African animal population. Your photos are wonderful.

Karin Webber
Explorer

Very interesting, thanks for sharing the information.

Lisa Antell
Master Tracker

I have definitely learned to like and enjoy hyenas over the past 5 years with WildEarth and my own safari experiences. They have their own charm and can be quite fascinating in behavior and social structure!

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