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The spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) also known as laughing hyena, is a carnivorous mammal of the family Hyaenidae, of which it is the largest extant member. Though the species' prehistoric range included Eurasia extending from Atlantic Europe to China, it now only occurs in all of Africa south of the Sahara save for the Congo Basin.Spotted hyenas live in large matriarchal communities called clans, which can consist of up to 80 individuals.

Though often mislabeled as cowardly scavengers, spotted hyenas derive the majority of their nourishment by hunting medium sized ungulates, and frequently clash with lions over food and territory. Studies indicate that their social intelligence is on par with some primate species. The relative amount of frontal cortex in their brains not used for motor control is higher than in other carnivorans examined, which has been attributed to their complex social lives.

The spotted hyena features prominently in African mythology and folklore, where its portrayal varies from being a bringer of light, to a symbol of immorality and depravity.

Spotted Hyena
HyenasFeedFromCarcass
Hyenas feeding from a carcass

Range

Throughout africa in the savana's.

Size

Wieght: 40.5-63.9kgs (89-141lbs)

Length: 95–165.8 cm (37–65.3 in)

Body Hieght: 70–91.5 cm (28–36.0 in).

Diet

Red Meat most commoly Wildebeest.

Weapons and Traits

Powerful bite, hunt in a pack

Battle Staus

Victorious over the the Gray Wolf

Spotted hyenas are more social than grey wolves, but their groups are not as closely knit as African wild dogs. Spotted hyena societies are more complex than those of other carnivorous mammals, and have been reported to be remarkably similar to those of cercopithecine primates in respect to group size, structure, competition and cooperation. Like primates, spotted hyenas use multiple sensory modalities, recognise individual conspecifics, are conscious that some clan-mates may be more reliable than others, recognise 3rd party kin and rank relationships among clan-mates, and adaptively use this knowledge during social decision making. Also, like cercopithecine primates, dominance ranks in hyena societies are not correlated with size or aggression, but with ally networks. Group size is variable; a "clan" of spotted hyenas can include 5–90 members and is led by a single alpha female called the matriarch. Scientists theorise that female hyena dominance could be an adaptation to the length of time it takes for cubs to develop the massive skulls and jaws, and intense feeding competition within clans, thus necessitating greater attention and dominating behaviours from females. Female hyena dominance is sometimes explained by the unusually high concentration of androgens produced by the ovaries. However adult hyena males display a higher concentration of androgens than adult hyena females. This would suggest that adult concentrations of androgens probably do not account for the difference of social dominance.

Unlike other large African carnivores, spotted hyenas do not preferentially prey on any species, and only buffalo, giraffe and plains zebra are significantly avoided. Spotted hyenas prefer prey with a body mass range of 56–182 kg, with a mode of 102 kg. When hunting medium to large sized prey, spotted hyenas tend to select certain categories of animal: young animals are frequently targeted, as are old ones, though the latter category is not so significant when hunting zebras, due to their aggressive antipredator behaviours. Unlike grey wolves, spotted hyenas rely more on sight than smell when hunting, and do not follow their prey's prints or travel in single file.

Spotted hyenas usually hunt wildebeest either singly, or in groups of two or three. They catch adult wildebeest usually after 5 km chases at speeds of up to 60 km/h. Chases are usually initiated by one hyena, and with the exception of cows with calves, there is little active defense by the wildebeest herd. Wildebeest will sometimes attempt to escape hyenas by taking to water, though in such cases, the hyenas almost invariably catch them.Zebras require different hunting methods to those used for wildebeest, due to their habit of running in tight groups and aggressive defence from stallions. Hyenas seem to plan on hunting zebras in advance, as they tend to indulge in activities such as scent marking before setting off, a behaviour which does not occur when they target other prey species. Typical zebra hunting groups consist of 10–25 hyenas. During a chase, zebras typically move in tight bunches, with the hyenas pursuing behind in a crescent formation. Chases are usually relatively slow, with an average speed of 15–30 km/h. A stallion will attempt to place itself between the hyenas and the herd, though once a zebra falls behind the protective formation it is immediately set upon, usually after a chase of 3 km. Though hyenas may harass the stallion, they usually only concentrate on the herd and attempt to dodge the stallion's assaults. Unlike stallions, mares typically only react aggressively to hyenas when their foals are threatened. Unlike wildebeest, zebras rarely take to water when escaping hyenas. Once prey is caught, spotted hyenas will kill their prey by eating it alive.

Spotted hyenas will increase their kill rate during the calving seasons of their prey, or when they are frequently displaced from their kills by other predators.

Battle agianst the Gray WolfEdit

Four gray wolves that are escapees from an exotic wildlife park in Africa have brought down a zebra and are tearing into the wild horse's body, before any other predators appear to take their prey. Right on queue the local spotted hyenas show up and run, cackling, at the wolves. The wolves turn to face their opponents and growls aggressively. One of them, a youngster, lunges forward and grabs one of the hyenas throats and drags it across the ground. The hyena in pain and one of its fellow pack members grabs the young wolf by the neck and shakes it around until it goes limp. (4-3)

The wolves immediately jump on the hyena that killed the other wolf and tear him to pieces. (3-3)

The other two hyenas go to assist their pack member and charge into the wolves, knocking one of them over. The lead hyena clamps her jaw around the wolf's neck and crushes its windpipe with its powerful jaws. (3-2)

The two remaining wolves turn on the lead hyena and but are blocked off by the two males. The lunge for each other and get into a vicious fight. The wolves press their size advantage and manage to cause enough injury to one of the hyenas to leave it dying on the floor. (2-2)

The other males is attacked by the alpha male while the alpha female goes for the head hyena. The female hyena dodges an attack from the female and sinks her teeth into her thigh, causing massive internal bleeding and badly crippling the wolf. She then snaps the wolf's neck with her powerful jaws. (2-1)

Meanwhile the male hyena is struggling with the alpha wolf. Despite his powerful jaws the wolf's size and speed are too much for the hyena to handle and he is soon pinned down by the wolf. Just as it is about to take a bite out of the hyena's neck the female hyena grabs it by the scruff of the neck and throws it off the male hyena, sending it sprawling in the dust. The wolf gets to its feet and growls angrily but soon realizes he is outnumbered. Turning around, he runs off into the long grass, his tail between his legs in submission. The hyenas cackle in victory and begin feasting on the carcass.

Winner Spotted Hyena

Experts opinion

The hyenas won because they worked better in a pack which was vital in this matchup.

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