The correct answer to the Tanda Tula #trackitthursday challenge it the spotted hyena. Hyenas are not members of the dog or cat family. They are in fact part of the family, ‘Hyaenidae’ which is made up of four members. These include the striped hyena, spotted hyena, brown hyena and aardwolf.
The spotted hyenas are the largest of the hyena species reaching heights of up to 150cm and weighing up to 86kg. They live together in large groups of up to 80 members in a clan, which is led by females. They are very social animals that will communicate with each other to make their intentions known through specific calls, gestures and signals. For example, a hyena will signal attack by carrying its tail high, or show excitement when their tail is held up and forward over their back.
Spotted hyenas are often just dismissed as ‘scavengers’ and pests. However they are intelligent and skilled hunters, often managing to take down larger prey such as buffalo and antelope. Apart from these larger prey, Hyenas also feast on birds, snakes, lizards, insects and smaller prey. They are opportunistic feeders, and select the easiest and most attractive food it can find, and they will eat most of the animal, leaving only the hair, hooves and horns behind. They have fantastic sight at night, and hearing is exceptional which makes them such excellent hunters. They are faster than what many people think.
The pack will work together in a hunt to isolate a weak member. They are very vocal animals, and make a wide variety of sounds. At Tanda Tula they can usually be heard throughout the night, adding to the excitement of a luxurious tented safari experience.