striped hyena

Hyaena hyaena

Common name

striped hyena


The striped hyena inhabits arid, semi-arid and open regions, including savannahs, grasslands, wetlands, forests and mountainous shrubland areas. They avoid dense forests and bushes, as well as open desert.


Subfamily: Hyaeninae






90 days.

Number of offspring

Litters of 1 to 5 pups.




It is a predominantly scavenger species. It feeds mainly on the corpses of large vertebrates (both meat and bones) and human waste, and can complement its diet with fruits, insects and hunting small animals (hares, rodents, reptiles and birds).


It is estimated that they have a life expectancy of about 10-12 years in the wild, and can reach 24 years in captivity.

Biology and behavior

The striped hyena is almost strictly nocturnal, although it can occasionally be active during the first and last hours of the day. They are considered solitary as they feed alone and are rarely seen in groups. Although it seems that its social organization changes between different populations. In some areas (such as Central Asia) they are organized into small family groups made up of an adult pair (male and female) and their offspring, which may be from different litters. Adults and older offspring collaborate by bringing food for younger siblings. On the other hand, in sub-Saharan Africa it is solitary, but in the county of Laikipia (Kenya) they can form groups of up to four adults (a female with several males) that share the same space and can be found resting together during the day. Females are intolerant of other females and dominant over males.

They normally use caves or other rocky crevices as dens, although they may also use earthen burrows (excavated by the female or abandoned burrows of other species). Males do not usually spend much time in dens, so caring for the cubs falls mainly on the females. The pups are born with their eyes and ears closed, being more immature than spotted hyena pups. They begin to leave the den after 2 weeks and eat meat after 30 days, although the female takes care of them and continues to breastfeed them for 1 year.

In addition to carrion, they also feed on human waste, so in some African villages they leave garbage outside overnight for the hyenas to feed on. They are not the favorite prey of any predator, but they are submissive to the spotted hyena (larger than them), allowing them to steal their food and may even be displaced from the habitat.


They can survive long periods without water and feed on the bones of corpses if there is no meat left, since their powerful jaw allows them to crush them easily, and they are even capable of breaking the shells of turtles.

They have long hair, and can raise it to appear 38% larger when they feel threatened.

African savanna
Equatorial jungle
Madagascar Island