A lot of people have heard about hyenas, the spotted mammals that are well known for their laugh. But do you know what the female hyena is called? Well, not a “female hyena” that’s for sure! Continue reading, and you will be surprised.
Before talking about males and females, let’s first establish what a hyena is. According to the Handbook of the Mammals of the World, Volume 1: Carnivora, hyena is a mammal from the family Hyaenidae. It is one of the smallest mammals in the class of Mammalia. We all know that hyenas are carnivorous but have you heard that they are quite important to the ecosystem of their native places, including Africa?
It is known that phylogenetically, hyenas are close to cats (felines). However, they are very similar in a morphologic way to dogs and wolfs (the biological family Canidae). The reason is that when hunting, hyenas tend to catch the prey with teeth rather than claws. They have adapted to running and have large, nonretractable nails. On the other hand, their behavior - defecating habits, mating, and grooming are similar to the behavior of the representatives of the cat family.
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Mating for other species of hyenas except the spotted hyena is the same. There are distinct differences between male and female hyenas - the genitals and the size of the body.
However, it may be hard to spot the difference between a male and a female of the spotted hyena for those who are not familiar with their reproductive system. The spotted female hyena is larger than the male and their genitalia looks almost like that of the male.
So what is a female hyena called? We learned that hyenas are similar to canines. Because of that, the female hyena is called a “bitch,” just like a female dog or female wolf.
Below you will find some interesting facts about hyenas:
1. Are all of them scavengers?
Hyenae are known to be scavengers. But did you know that the spotted hyena will kill 95% of its prey, and only 5% will be the already dead animals? However, the striped hyena is the scavenging one.
2. Is Africa their homeland?
The Hyenas originated from Eurasia, about 22 million years ago. Shocking, right? They were doglike hyenas. The rise of the doglike hyenas was about 15 million years ago. However, the period of climate change that began 5-7 million years ago led to a decrease in their population. One of the species moved to North America, while most of its doglike relatives died in Eurasia.
There is a theory that the striped hyenas evolved from the hyenas in Eurasia that likely spread to Africa. The spotted hyenas diverged from the striped ones.
3. A lot of the relatives
The family of Hyaenidae is full of relatives that went extinct. The only living families are the subfamily Hyaeninae, Hyaena - the brown and striped hyenas; and Crocuta - spotted and cave hyenas.
4. A threatened specie?
There is a list created by the IUCN and called the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The wolf and the spotted hyena is in the “least concern” position, while the brown and striped ones are at the “near threatened.”
There you have it - now you know how to call a female hyena! You can also share the interesting facts about hyenas with your friends and relatives.