Tiny black hyena cubs

Great news! We have new hyena cubs. The tiny cubs were filmed by ranger Rul on the 7th of June 2016 as they emerged from their burrow to suckle from their mother. Hyena cubs can move with surprising agility after only 10 days of age and lose their distinctive black coat after 2-3 months. Interesting hyenas get lighter as they get older.

The genitals of a female hyena closely resembles those of a male. This makes giving birth a very difficult task. The birth canal traverse this pseudo-penis and is twice as long as in other mammals. The umbilical cord disconnects with the placenta while the cub is still inside the birth canal and the opening is far smaller than the cub’s head. As a result first time mothers often produce stillborn cubs due to oxygen starvation. Subsequent births are easier due to the general opening splitting.

They have the richest milk of any terrestrial predator, so grow fast, but only wean at 16 months.

Female cubs inherit the rank of their mothers. They normally give birth to pairs and if both cubs are female the youngest will usually be killed by the older sister (Cainism or siblicide) by using their tiny canine teeth. If one of the cubs is a male, the female would naturally dominate him and there would be no need for in-fighting. Female cubs form coalitions with their mother and lower ranked coalitions often break away to form their own clans where their status would naturally improve.

Young males will leave at about 2 years of age to join other clans where their status would usually also be elevated. They would work hard to gain social favors from the females in order to get the right to mate. Hyena females are the leaders  and they are larger than the males and also more aggressive.

2 Responses to “Tiny black hyena cubs”

  1. Sharon Haussmann

    Great video Ranger Rul. Also great to see correct facts, there are so many misconceptions about these amazing and often misunderstood animals.

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