A video taken on the 5th of August of hyena cubs tucking away away on a buffalo bone. Adults often carry leftovers of carcasses to the den site. Well developed muscles in their necks make light work of carrying pieces of skin or larger bones over fairly large distances. Hyena dens situated inside termite mounds can thus be easily identified as such by the number of dried bones lying around. Their milk are the richest of all land mammals due to the calcium rich diet. Hyena dung also turn white when dry and is easy to recognize.
They are able to exploit a niche as no other mammal’s jaws is strong enough to crunch and break the bigger bones. Hyenas are scavengers, but the name does not do them justice. They ensure a healthy ecosystem, cleaning the bush of unwanted and potential disease carrying objects. They clean, disinfect and sanitize the bush. Without hyenas the bush would be littered by the skeleton remains of carcasses everywhere.
Blockbuster movies like The Lion King and others have raised several generations of kids loathing hyenas. Some subtle, but deliberate changes have even been made to their faces with beautiful round ears replaced with ugly pointed ones in keeping with their status as villains. A cute cuddly bearlike face changed into a mean angry dog with the brush of a stroke. They probably are the most intelligent of all the predatory land mammals and scientists have even documented that their ability to strategize are even faster than those of chimpanzees when trying to solve puzzles in order to get access to food.
There are several sounds that could be called iconic to Africa. The roar of a lion, call of an African fish eagle and cry of a jackal, but none are more beautiful than the whooping call of a hyena just after sunset of even more spine chilling than the laughing and cackling emanating from around a lion kill. They truly are enigmas, much maligned by some, but also loved by so many others.