Hyenas also seem to get a bad wrap and very undeservedly so. I am not sure why most people seem to dislike them. It might be the way they look with big round ears and faded spots running down a sloping back mimicking a human with bad posture. The shorter hind legs actually helps in creating leverage when holding onto their prey when hunting. Add to this very powerful jaws, that can crush even the thickest of bones, and enough stamina to run for 2 – 3 km at close to 50 km/h and you have one of the best designed predators walking on this planet. A far cry from the lowly scavenger tag that they are so often associated with. An amazing sense of smell making it possible to locate a rotten carcass from as far as 4 km away, tailored them for this role as well, making hyenas one of the most versatile carnivores in Africa. Perfection through evolution!
They are social animals living under a matriarchal system. Most social animals are also quite intelligent as they need to survive and fit into sometimes complex social behaviors. Communication is playing an important role causing that part of their brains to be further developed. Hyenas are no exception.
They den in abandoned aardvark burrows inside termite mounds with the cubs enlarging and creating a network of tunnels that provide both shelter and a place to play. A thick and muscular neck helps adult hyenas in carrying pieces of meat and bones back to their den site.
A safari to Africa is not complete without seeing and even more importantly spending some quality time in the company of this incredible animals.