Spotted hyena

Theme area:  Pórtico de la naturaleza
Scientific name:  Crocuta crocuta
Class:  Mammals
Continent:  Africa
Habitat:  Grasslands and steppes
Diet:  Carnivore
Weight:  45 - 70 kg
Size:  75 - 80 cm
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An animal with a bad reputation, but essential for environmental balance

Its distribution includes all of sub-Saharan Africa.

It is the only species of its genus and although it resembles the canids it is related to the felids, especially the viverids. Their jaws are probably the strongest in relation to the size of any mammal, reaching a pressure of almost 100 kg. It is not a very fast animal, but it has great endurance and is a good swimmer, even being able to dive underwater and hold its breath.

The spotted hyena is nocturnal and forms family groups of between ten and twenty individuals commanded by a dominant female, the alpha. This hierarchy is inherited by bloodline, with the alpha being the first to come into heat each year.

Gestation lasts about 4 months, after which 1 to 3 young are born in a burrow dug in the ground, taking advantage of the burrows of other species. If siblings of the same sex are born, they often fight each other to death, leaving only the strongest one.

Laughter is the characteristic sound of the hyena. It is associated with fear or excitement, when an individual is being persecuted and as a form of communication among them. The sound or "laughter" it produces spreads from one to another and all go to the focus of the sound, helping a hyena to flee, hunt or defend the territory.

It has a great importance in the ecosystem; 30% of its diet is composed of carrion, thus helping to prevent the spread of many diseases.

The Selwo Aventura group is part of the European Endangered Species Program (EEP) of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA).

Conservation status
Extinct
Extinct in the wild
Critically endangered
Endangered
Vulnerable
Near threatened
Least concern
Insufficient data
Not evaluated

DID YOU KNOW...

sexual dimorphism is nonexistent in the hyena? Even the genitalia of females are almost indistinguishable from those of males.
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