Hyenas And Aardwolf Animal
enter site Although members of this family superficially resemble dogs, they are in fact closely related to cats and civets and genets.
They all feature a distinctive back line that slopes downwards from the shoulders to tail. Hyenas and aardwolf are mainly found in Africa (although the striped hyena extends to southern parts of Asia), in savanna, scrub, and semi-arid habitats.
They are primarily nocturnal and dig dens that are used to shelter adults and cubs (except in the spotted hyena, where only the cubs seek refuge in dens).
Physical characteristics common to the species in this family include a large head and ears, long front legs and short back legs, a mane on the nape that (except in the spotted hyena) extends down the back, a bushy tail, and short,blunt, non-retractable claws Hyenas have 4 toes on both the front and back feet.
the aardwolf has 5 toes on the front feet and 4 on the back feet.The coat is spotted or striped the brown hyena has stripes on the limbs only).
Hyenas have a broad muzzle and immensely strong jaws (indeed, the jaws are the most powerful of any mammal of comparable size) and teeth for crushing bones.Of the 3 hyena species, the spotted hyena is the most voracious hunter.
When hunting cooperatively, spotted hyenas are able to take down large prey, such as zebras.This species is also a highly efficient scavenger- groups of spotted hyenas are capable of driving a lion off its prey.Striped and brown hyenas, on the other hand, scavenge most of the time, although they may also capture small prey.
All hyenas are able to digest parts of a kill that other mammals cannot process, such as skin and bone. This means that they occupy a niche not filled by most other mammals.
Portions of the meal that they cannot digest, such as ligaments, hair, and hooves, are regurgitated in the form of pellets. Given these digestive adaptations, it is surprising that one member of family – the aardwolf- does not eat large prey.
Instead, it uses its smaller teeth and sticky tongue to feed on termites.There is little competition for this food source, it requires minimal effort to obtain, and the nutritional value is surprisingly. An aardwolf may eat as many as 200,000 termites in a single night.
While the aardwolf is solitary, and striped and brown hyenas live in pairs or small groups, spotted hyenas live in larger groups called clans.
These clans may consist of up to 80 individuals (males and females and their cubs).When cubs are 2-3 months old, they are transferred to a communal den, where all are suckled by any lactating female (brown hyenas employ this system, too).
The cubs remain in the den until they are weaned and ready to accompany adults hunting and foraging, which may be at as little as 7 months of age.
All hyenas are territorial, and their territories are marked using an anal scent gland (which can be turned inside out). Spotted hyena clans patrol and defend their territory communally.
THE ULTIMATE MEAT-EATER
The kill on which this spotted hyena is feeding may have been hunted down by the clan or scavenged from another predator.
Because hyenas have powerful, bone-crushing jaws, and eat almost anything, little will be left of this harte beest carcass when the hyenas leave.