A spotted hyena at the Mara after the rains. This rainbow appeared almost magically, as they always do. Little did this hyena know how pretty the scene was, as it peered curiously into the vehicle.
These highly intelligent creatures have long been misunderstood. Recent studies have revealed their intelligence rival some primates- a test population in the wild were found to use trial and error to solve puzzles, and clans have been found to assess a competing clan that was invading their territory based on the number of calls they heard.
Further, contrary to popular opinion, these highly adept hunters, more often than not, carry out more of their own kills than they do scavenge. Interestingly, in a number of studies, it was found that lions regularly steal food from hyena clans. Now that’s food for thought.
Belonging to female-led clans and working in teams, their powerful jaws can crush bone to access nutritious marrow, important especially when feeding on leftovers of carrion. Their ability to digest rotting carcasses also helps to reduce the spread of disease in the ecosystem.
So, what’s not to love about the hyena? And for anyone who’s ever looked at a wild one in the eyes, they’ll tell you that they are truly, beautiful creatures.