Hyena cubs playing

A beautiful video by Rul, one of our star guides, of hyenas playing at a den site on the 9th of September 2015. They are social animals of a high intellect and it must be a highlight of anyone’s safari to visit a den site and watch the interaction between hyenas. This cub was born at a private den site a few hundred meters from the communal site which might indicate that the mother is a low status female. This gave her unhindered access to the cub before she introduced it to the rest of the clan by taking it to the communal site. The black colour of the cub will disappear at about 2 – 3 months of age.

There intelligence is well known: A study done by evolutionary anthropologists demonstrated that spotted hyenas outperform chimpanzees on cooperative problem-solving tests; captive pairs of spotted hyenas were challenged to tug two ropes in unison to earn a food reward, successfully cooperating and learning the maneuvers quickly without prior training. Experienced hyenas even helped inexperienced clan-mates to solve the problem. In contrast, chimps and other primates often require extensive training, and cooperation between individuals is not always as easy for them.

Post by Robbie Prehn

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