What do hyenas eat? There are three types of hyenas; the spotted hyena, the brown hyena, and the striped hyena. They are all classed as members of the Hyaenidae family. Answering the question of what do hyenas eat, depends on the type of hyena we are talking about.
The hyena’s natural habitat spans across the plains of Africa and into parts of Asia. Hyenas live in groups called ‘clans’. In this article, we will answer the question of what do hyenas eat and will discuss basic facts about hyena’s diet and feeding.
What do hyenas eat?
Hyenas are scavengers. Hyenas will scavenge on carrion; which are the carcasses of dead animals that have either been hunted and brought down by other predators, or that may have died of natural or man-made causes.
Hyena clans have complex social structures, and they exhibit behaviors unlike any other group of carnivores. They live in matriarchal clans, led by females.
Female hyenas also dominate over males in every other aspect of clan life. Alliances within clans are formed and they also develop coalitions between smaller groups. They have also been observed spending much of their time carrying out specific greeting and grooming rituals.
Hyenas have a fantastic hearing and excellent eyesight, with effective night vision. Despite their reputation as scavengers, hyenas are also effective hunters, that work in groups to bring down their prey.
However, scavenging for food is also a suitable answer to what do hyenas eat. Hyenas will scavenge on carrion; which are the carcasses of dead animals that have either been hunted and brought down by other predators, or that may have died of natural or man-made causes. Clans of hyenas have been known to chase away cheetahs, leopards, and lions from their own prey, devouring the spoils for themselves.
Do hyenas eat elephants?
Due to their ginormous size, elephants are not the natural prey of many predators. However, young elephant calves are at risk of being hunted by hyenas. Hyenas are adept at picking off the weaker or ill members of a herd and will use their high intelligence and fast running skills to separate them from the rest of the group, making them easier to bring down.
Hyenas also frequently hunt and eat smaller wildebeest, regularly sized impala, gazelle, and antelope, and have even been known to eat birds, snakes, and insects. So, the answer to what do hyenas eat is often decided by which is the easiest prey to take down in their immediate habitat.
How much do hyenas eat in a day?
Each hyena can eat up to six kilograms of meat per day. This can also include bone and marrow, which they crush with their mighty jaws. Their digestive systems are very strong and contain hydrochloric acid, which makes easy work of dissolving bones and tough tissue fibers.
What does the striped hyena eat?
Striped hyenas have helped give the hyena the reputation as a scavenger. What do hyenas eat can exclusively be answered with the word ‘leftovers’, when referring to the striped type. They do occasionally hunt but are much more likely to look for carrion to consume.
Striped hyenas are famed for eating other creatures kills and will also happily tuck into roadkill. Sadly, striped hyenas often meet this same fate, as automobiles often hit hyenas too, whilst they stand to feast on the unfortunate animals lying maimed in the road.
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