IUCN threat status:

Near Threatened (NT)

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Biology

The striped hyena is a well-studied animal; however, what is understood about the behaviour and ecology of the striped hyena is largely limited to studies undertaken in Kenya, Tanzania and Israel. There are anecdotal reports that elsewhere, such as east of Israel, their ecology could be substantially different (5). The striped hyena is most frequently seen singly or in pairs, although groups of up to seven can occur (3). Social contact is limited by the need to forage alone over very large ranges, which they do so under the cover of night (2) (6). When moving around regularly used paths within their territory, grass stalks are marked with a secretion from the anal pouch (2) (4), leaving a clear sign to any intruders of the owner's presence (4). If neighbouring hyenas do happen to meet, they fluff out their fur and erect their crest in an attempt to look intimidating and fights may erupt in which they nip at each others thick necks (2). The striped hyena is omnivorous and will feed opportunistically on almost anything it comes across as it roams great distances at night (2) (6). This includes seeds, leaves, fruits, insects, birds, fish, and many species of mammal (7). A competent hunter, a single striped hyena is known to be capable of killing prey up to the size of a donkey, and can even kill and eat tortoises despite their protective shell. It is rarely a fast enough runner to catch quick and alert animals, but can stalk and seize unaware hares, foxes and rodents. Striped hyenas also scavenge, feeding on scraps from garbage dumps in some areas (2). Female striped hyenas give birth to litters of one to four cubs after a gestation of 90 to 91 days (3). They give birth in a rocky den or a burrow, preferably dug by another animal (6). The hyena cubs open their eyes after seven to eight days, their teeth erupt after 21 days, and they begin to eat meat at an age of 30 days (3). The young cubs may suckle for up to a year (3), while they learn important foraging skills from their mother (2).

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Source: ARKive

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