Sunday, 20 December 2015

Spotted Hyaena: Photo essay

This group of around 17 animals 
den in the road culvert.
There was a good mixture of adults 
& three sets of cubs of varying ages.
A large female

Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta) is quite common in the north eastern & eastern parts of South Africa. However, its range has shrunk considerably within the last century due to human activities. Today it is largely confined to national parks & large nature reserves or huge privately owned concessions.

It is a savanna species but here in Sabie Park & neighbouring Kruger National Park it is found in open dry woodland as well.

Spotted Hyenas are massively built with huge forequarters. They have immense power in the neck & forequarters that may be seen to best advantage when they are tearing at flesh at a kill. They are major predators, as well as accomplished scavengers & when they have the advantage of numbers, are quite capable of driving Lions off a kill. They are opportunistic & will take, or scavenge, a wide variety of prey species. They thrive best in areas where Lions are also common & have a constant battle with this species over prey.

Their social system is based upon a matriarchal system of clans. Clans usually comprise of between 4 -18 adults, with only a small number of males mating with the females. The females form a social system or a sisterhood & dominate all proceedings & indeed all life of the clan.

They are predominantly nocturnal & their calls are a nightly affair here within Sabie Park. They are bold & can be aggressive, even venturing inside my house on a number of occasions! 

Youngsters emerging from their den.
Very playful & affectionate towards one another.

Inquisitive too!
Very curious!
On the prowl!
Looking for mischief?

This youngster was a little unsure 
of its surroundings.

Even youngsters like this one were interested in bushes
 that had been sented by the pack.

A big difference in age but very friendly
 towards each other.
A very young pup.
Probably one of his first outings out of the den.

What the hell is that!
Female with two cubs suckling.
This other adult was just gently nudging the cubs, 
which were not hers.
There was no aggression at all here.

To be completed

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